The Obama administration’s pick “to run the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac doesn’t want to be renominated after his candidacy ran into strong Republican opposition, a White House official said Thursday,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
President Barack Obama in November nominated North Carolina’s top banking regulator, Joseph Smith, to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency. But Mr. Smith ran afoul of several Republicans, who voiced concerns about whether Mr. Smith would exert enough independence from the Obama administration.
Mr. Smith faced resistance from Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.), who suggested he would be “a tool of the administration.” Mr. Shelby and other Republicans feared Mr. Smith would heighten pressure on Fannie and Freddie to slash mortgage balances for troubled homeowners.
Mr. Smith, whose term as North Carolina’s banking commissioner expires on March 31, would have replaced Edward DeMarco, a career civil servant who has been serving as the housing agency’s acting director since August 2009.
His nomination had been “supported by both North Carolina senators, Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Kay Hagan.”
The administration is now “left without its own appointee at FHFA just as officials prepare a proposal for reforms to the system of providing U.S. mortgages.”