WASHINGTON — The Senate Banking Committee, voting along party lines, approved the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., on Thursday to become director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Watt, who would become the first Senate-confirmed director for the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, still faces an uphill battle to full confirmation with Republicans maintaining their opposition to his nomination. The committee voted 12 to 10 to move his nomination to the Senate floor.

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