WASHINGTON — NCUA Board hopeful Richard Metsger’s nomination was unanimously approved Thursday morning by the Senate Banking Committee.
The full committee had rescheduled the vote from Tuesday morning after it failed to achieve a quorum.
Thursday morning didn’t pose that risk – the vote was taken just prior to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s Semiannual Monetary Policy Report, which attracted all but six members of the committee.
In the interest of time, Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) waived opening statements and initiated a voice vote on Metsger’s nomination, along with Kara Stein and Michael Piwowar to be members of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Jo White, to be a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission for a full term expiring June 5, 2019, and the nomination of Jason Furman to be a member and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
All members present voiced an aye vote, and there were no votes in opposition.
“As our nation’s economy continues to recover, we need strong leaders in place at our financial regulators and other agencies. The committee’s bipartisan approval of Furman, Stein, Piwowar, Metsger and White is a positive step forward, and I hope the Senate will move quickly to consider and confirm these nominees,” Johnson said in a statement.
Following the vote, Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) congratulated the nominees and wished them a speedy confirmation process on the Senate floor.
However, votes on the confirmation of Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to be director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, made separately, fell strictly along party lines. Watt was approved by the committee by a vote of 12-10, but received no votes from all Republican members of the committee. All Democrat members of the committee voted in his favor.
“As Congress continues to seek consensus on a long-term solution for our housing finance system, we need a Senate-confirmed director in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Congressman Mel Watt is well-qualified to lead the FHFA in its conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and he too should be confirmed without delay,” Johnson said.
Crapo, on the other hand, said that while Watt is well liked by colleagues regardless of their disagreement on issues, and could have been confirmed for a number of nominated positions, he nonetheless opposed it and encouraged his colleagues on the committee to do so as well. “This position is unlike others,” Crapo said, noting that the combined portfolio of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, still in conservatorship, is $5 trillion.
All nominees, now approved by the committee, will now face a full floor confirmation vote in the Senate.