U.S. Senate panel backs Julian Castro for housing secretary

WASHINGTON, June 25 Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:27am EDT

WASHINGTON, June 25 (Reuters) - A U.S. Senate panel on Wednesday approved San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, clearing the way for a final vote in the full Senate.

If confirmed in the post, as expected, Castro would be in position to push the Obama administration's plan to wind down mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , an effort that has stalled in Congress.

The Senate Banking Committee voted 16-6 to place Castro at the helm of the agency in charge of U.S. housing at a time when the market's recovery remains wobbly and still-tight lending terms are making it hard for many Americans to obtain mortgages. (Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna; Editing by Paul Simao)

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