The Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday voted on a largely party line basis to endorse San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The 16-6 vote – 12 Democrats and four Republicans approved – clears the way for a final vote in the full Senate.
Castro will take over HUD in the waning months of the Obama administration, if he is approved by the full Senate.
While Castro would be in place to execute whatever plan the White House has to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it is unlikely he will do so – GSE reform is pretty much dead until after the mid-term elections and likely dead until after the 2016 presidential election.
Castro’s nomination raised concerns in the initial confirmation hearing, when senators raised questions about the HUD inspector general report that found Castro, as mayor of San Antonio, mismanaged or lost millions in taxpayer funds supposedly dedicated to affordable housing programs.
Castro takes over the housing cabinet position as the American housing industry and the economy as a whole is stalling out.
David Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association said his organization approves of Castro’s nomination.
“MBA commends the Senate Banking Committee for approving Julian Castro to be the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. We now hope the full Senate will quickly confirm not only Julian Castro as HUD Secretary, but also Shaun Donovan as the new Director of OMB. Once both are confirmed, it will only strengthen the Administration’s depth in housing issues, as both men are suitably positioned to tackle the important challenges facing our industry," Stevens said.