Reports: President Obama to nominate NC Congressman Watt to head - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

President Obama nominates Rep. Mel Watt to head FHFA

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

President Barack Obama picked Rep. Melvin Watt, D-NC, to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the government regulator that oversees lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

If confirmed by the Senate, Watt would replace Edward DeMarco, an appointee of President George W. Bush who has been a target of housing advocates, liberal groups and Democratic lawmakers.

The president made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at the White House.

Watt's nomination comes at a crucial time for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government sponsored mortgage-finance enterprises that the government rescued at the height of the financial crisis in September 2008 as they teetered neared collapse from losses on soured mortgage loans.

Representative Watt has been in Congress since 1993 and serves the 12th district of North Carolina, which spans from Mecklenburg County to Guilford County.

US Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, said in a statement that he looked forward to working with Watt.

"Having served with Mel, I know of his commitment to sustainable federal housing programs and am confident he will work hard to protect taxpayers from future exposure to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  I look forward to working with Rep. Watt in his new role to find new ways to facilitate more private sector involvement in the housing and mortgage markets," Burr said in his statement.

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-NC, said in her statement that Watt "has the background, skills and history of bipartisan cooperation necessary to confront the challenges facing our recovering housing market."

Late Wednesday afternoon, State Senator Malcom Graham of Mecklenburg County told WBTV that once Watt is confirmed, then he's in the race to replace him.

Copyright 2013 WBTV. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

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