WASHINGTON May 11 President Barack Obama urged
lawmakers on Saturday to back his nominee to oversee mortgage
financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,
Democratic Representative Mel Watt.
"Mel's represented the people of North Carolina in Congress
for 20 years, and in that time, he helped lead efforts to put in
place rules of the road that protect consumers from dishonest
mortgage lenders and give responsible Americans the chance to
own their own home," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet
"He's the right person for the job, and that's why Congress
should do its job, and confirm him without delay," Obama said.
The North Carolina lawmaker is expected to face a tough
confirmation battle in the Senate, where Democrats are likely to
need some Republican support to get Watt approved.
If confirmed, Watt would replace Edward DeMarco, a career
civil servant who has led the Federal Housing Finance Agency in
an acting capacity since 2009.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were seized by the government in
2008 as mortgage losses mounted. They have received $187.5
billion in taxpayer funds to stay afloat, while paying about $58
billion to the Treasury in dividends.