The Senate voted 56 to 42 to end the filibuster with Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., voting in the negative. That will allow Reid to request another vote on Watt’s confirmation at a later date.
The majority leader might also take drastic action and seek a change in the Senate rules so the president’s nominees can be approved by a majority vote.
Reid has threatened in the past to change the Senate filibuster rules unless the Republicans stop their long-running filibusters.
“It is disappointing that a sitting member of Congress with over 40 years of relevant experience was denied an up-or-down vote by a minority of senators,” said Senate Banking Committee chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D. “This is not the end for Congressman Watt’s nomination, and I will continue to fight to see that he is confirmed.”
President Obama nominated Watt to be the new Federal Housing Finance Agency director in the spring. If confirmed, the veteran congressman would replace FHFA acting director Edward DeMarco.
Trade groups representing builders, Realtors, mortgage bankers and the securities industry are supporting Watt’s confirmation.