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Democrats have taken advantage of their weakening of filibusters and muscled through the Senate President Barack Obama’spick to lead a housingregulation agency. By 57-41, senators confirmed Rep. Mel Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Obama nominated the North Carolina Democrat in May but he’s been in limbo ever since.

Republicans have said he’s not qualified, while Democrats say the 21-year House veteran has the needed experience. Until recently, Watt’s nomination was blocked because Democrats needed 60 Senate votes to end a GOP filibuster. But last month, the chamber’s majority Democrats lowered that threshold to a simple majority.

Also, the Senate confirmed another top Obama pick: Patricia Millett to join the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. “I applaud the Senate’s confirmation of Mel Watt as FHFA Director. As he has been in his community, the House of Representatives and in the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Watt will be an exceptional leader of this agency, safeguarding policies that protect consumers and ensuring lender accountability.”

Congressman Watt has a long history of advocating against predatory lending and the mortgage practices that caused millions of families to lose their homes. Through his leadership and with his vision for the FHFA and for this country, Watt will work to reverse the policies that have led to the disintegration of many neighborhoods across our nation. With today’s confirmation, the Senate took a critical step towards helping homeowners, and ensuring our nation stays on the path to economic recovery.

On behalf of the entire Congressional Black Caucus, I congratulate Congressman Watt and salute him for this significant accomplishment and his admirable public service career.