CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Longtime Congressman Mel Watt, Democrat representing the 12th congressional district, told NBC Charlotte he expects to be confirmed as the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency in the coming weeks. On May 1, President Obama nominated Watt, but so far the U.S. Senate hasn’t confirmed the selection.
“I think we've got a window in the next three, four weeks where this could happen. I expect it to happen,” said Watt.
Watt said Congress’ summer recess, the crisis in Syria, and the government shutdown kept the confirmation off the Senate’s agenda. Since his nomination, several national publications have questioned if Watt has enough support to get 60 votes in the Senate.
In a rare move, Watt also talked to NBC Charlotte about local issues, including the mayor’s race. As expected, he’s supporting Democrat Patrick Cannon. But his most enthusiastic statements were condemning the state GOP he believes would influence Republican candidate Edwin Peacock.
“Unfortunately the Republican Party won't allow anyone to be moderate anymore… a Republican candidate is going to be controlled by external forces in the Republican Party, and that's not going to be good for the city of Charlotte."
Peacock has campaigned on his ability to encourage bipartisanship.
“I've got a record of being able to work across the aisle. And I think that's something that voters are looking for right now," Peacock told NBC Charlotte in May.
Watt also pointed his criticism towards the Republican-dominated North Carolina General Assembly and Governor’s mansion. Watt said state lawmakers shouldn’t have involved themselves in governance at Charlotte Douglas Airport. He also criticized the Voter Information and Verification Act, which requires an ID to vote, limits the days of early voting and eliminates preregistration of 17 year olds.
"Well, they've gotten a lot done, but most of what they've gotten done has been negative."