President Obama’s nomination for FHFA director – Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) – failed to garner enough votes to advance in the Senate on Thursday.
The final vote count on a motion to proceed to a vote on Watt's nomination was 56 to 42, short of the 60 votes required to move forward.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had filed cloture on the matter on Monday.
Reacting to the vote, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) said Watt was blocked simply because he’s a politician.
“It is disappointing that a sitting member of Congress with over 40 years of relevant experience was denied an up-or-down vote by a minority of senators today. It is not a secret that this vote was pure obstructionist politics at play,” said Johnson in a statement.
“The last FHFA nominee, North Carolina’s Insurance Commissioner Joe Smith, a technocrat, was also denied a vote. Now, Congressman Watt is being blocked because he is a ‘politician,’ never mind the fact that he has worked on housing policy for 21 years as a member of the House Financial Services Committee,” Johnson’s statement said.
Johnson vowed to continue the fight to get Watt confirmed.
“This is not the end for Congressman Watt’s nomination,” he said.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) joined the Senate GOP in voting against Watt’s nomination.
"I think this is the wrong job for this good man," said Toomey.
"There is no parallel in our country for an institution where so much power is concentrated in one person," the Pennsylvania senator said.
Edward DeMarco has been serving as acting director.