Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., listens as President Obama announces his nomination to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Watt was nominated in May, but Republicans blocked his confirmation until this week.
Credit Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP
More than 90 percent of home mortgages flow through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration. They decide who can qualify and who can't. And they just got a new top boss.
Seven months after his was nominated, the U.S. Senate this week confirmed former Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., to head the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant companies that control much of the mortgage market.
The vote occurred after Democrats changed the rules on filibusters — now the Senate can confirm presidential nominees with a simple majority.
For people who watch the U.S. housing market, Watt's confirmation is a very big deal that could mean easier credit.
The year may have suffered a couple of black eyes in the form of shuttered opera companies and orchestras in labor disputes, but as far as recordings go, don't let anyone tell you classical music is dying — the music and musicians are thriving.
David Greene talks with the AP's Matt Apuzzo about his story describing what is known about an American who went missing in Iran in 2007. The Associated Press reports that, despite official denials from the U.S., Robert Levinson had been working for the CIA.
Long protected by the Endangered Species Act, the Yellowstone grizzly population may have grown enough to come off the list. But many independent biologists say the Yellowstone grizzly is far from healthy, and they're trying to keep the government from "delisting" it.
On Saturday, Army and Navy will take the field to renew their legendary football rivalry for the 114th time. The teams are playing in Philadelphia, which is also where they faced off in 2001, just weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. The players that year faced a sobering new reality: the nation was at war and they'd soon leave the football field behind for the battlefield.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:23 am
President Obama's oft-repeated promise that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it" is 2013's "lie of the year," according to the fact checkers at the Tampa Bay Times' nonpartisan PolitiFact project.