Obama Names Watt for Housing Finance Post, Wheeler at FCC

President Barack Obama today named U.S. Representative Mel Watt as his choice for director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and fundraiser Tom Wheeler to head the Federal Communications Commission.

“Mel understands as well as anybody what caused the housing crisis,” and will help the industry continue its recovery, Obama said in announcing his choice at the White House.

Watt, a North Carolina Democrat, would replace acting FHFA director Edward J. DeMarco to lead the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two mortgage-finance companies. Both have been under U.S. conservatorship since they were seized amid soaring losses during the 2008 credit crisis.

Wheeler, managing director at Core Capital Partners LP in Washington, is a former leader of wireless- and cable-industry groups. He would join the independent agency that regulates broadcasters, cable-television companies and telephone-service providers, replacing Chairman Julius Genachowski.

Their nominations are subject to confirmation by the Senate. Some Republican senators have already expressed opposition to Watt, who was first elected to Congress in 1992.