Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison is praised the president’s selection of Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency—which supervises Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks.
Ellison, a Democratic member of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement Wednesday after a White House official announced that President Barack Obama planned to nominate Watt:
Mel Watt is a strong housing and community development advocate. If confirmed by the Senate, working families in Minnesota will have an ally leading the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Since the Great Recession, there have been more than 4 million foreclosures and American homeowners lost more than half the value on their homes. Today, 10 million Americans continue to owe more money than their home is worth.
I am confident that, if confirmed, Rep. Watt will continue his support for common-sense policies to keep people in their homes. Rep. Watt is a leading proponent principal reduction—allowing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to write down the mortgage principal owed by homeowners—which helps struggling families keep their homes. Last week, Reps. Gary Peters (D-MI), Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) and I introduced the Preserving American Homeownership Act, H.R. 1754 which establishes a pilot shared appreciation/principal reduction program.
The American people deserve an advocate like Rep. Mel Watt at the Federal Housing Finance Agency. I urge the Senate to approve his nomination as soon as possible. If the Senate is unable to confirm Rep. Watt as a leader of the FHFA, I hope the President will appoint a leader during Congressional recess who can successfully lead the agency.
Watch Obama introduce the nominees in the video player above.