CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Democrat Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) could face a U.S. Senate confirmation vote by the end of the week, but it’s unclear whether he’ll get the required support. In May, President Obama nominated Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Senate sources told NBC Charlotte Watt didn’t have the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural votes and an eventual vote for confirmation. The Senate’s 52 Democrats, 2 Independents, and Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) are believed to support Watt. Burr was the lone Republican publicly endorsing Watt. Other Republicans could filibuster, delaying and ultimately torpedoing Watt’s nomination.
On Wednesday, several national civil rights groups called for senators to vote on the confirmation.
“With everyday that we delay the confirmation of Mel Watt, more families lose their home, struggle with underwater mortgages and watch generational wealth, hard-earned, slip away," said Chanelle Hardy of the National Urban League.
Hardy and Henderson joined leaders from La Raza, League of United American Citizens, and the NAACP Wednesday afternoon on a conference call with reporters. Henderson said Watt would be the first member of Congress since the Civil War to be filibustered for a higher post.
"To target Mel Watt as the first to be filibustered, given his qualifications and given what's going on in housing market, is really an outrageous move,” said Wade Henderson, president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Conservative groups like Club for Growth is lobbying Republicans to defeat Watt’s nomination, saying he lacks the appropriate experience.