On October 31, 2013, the Senate voted 56-42 to oppose cloture, the limiting of debate that would have moved the up/down vote on the nomination of Representative Mel Watt (D-NC) as the next director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) forward. This means that the Senate was not able to vote on the nomination itself.
The FHFA regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and its role in the housing choices of all Americans cannot be overstated.
Only two Republicans, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Rob Portman (R-OH), joined Senate Democrats and Independents, voting in favor of an up/down vote on President Obama’s nominee. U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker voted to support the up/down vote.
During the vote on cloture, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) switched his vote from a “yes” to a “no,” which allows him to submit a motion to reconsider the vote at any time. It is unclear if, when, and under what circumstances a vote on Mr. Watt’s nomination would be reconsidered.
Please take a minute today to thank Senator Menendez (202-224-4744) and Senator Booker (202-224-3224) on their votes. This was the first time since 1843 that the Senate has rejected a sitting member of Congress for a Cabinet-level position.