What’s up with Watt nomination?


U.S. CongressAccording to Politico, there is increasing worry that the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) to take the reins at the Federal Housing Finance Agency is in trouble, and that in turn might spell a bit of trouble for radio broadcasters, since Watt is attempting to move legislation that would create an AM-FM performance royalty.

The smoke indicating a possible fire is the fact that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) did not push Watt’s candidacy prior to the congressional August recess, along with the fact that Watt was not part of the package of nominee approvals made in a deal between to two parties in an effort to avoid filibuster reform.

Republicans are said to believe that Watt lacks the qualifications to take charge of the agency with oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and because of his seeming low-priority status, it is speculated that his nomination could be filibustered without provoking a strong Democratic response.

Watt is said to be worried enough that he’s mobilizing members of the Congressional Black Caucus to lobby their Senatorial colleagues on his behalf.

RBR-TVBR observation: It would be a mildly bad bit of news for radio broadcasters if Watt stays in the House. He is currently behind the latest effort to legislate a performance royalty for any music played over the air on AM and FM radio.  We use the word mildly simply because if Watt doesn’t do it, somebody else surely will, so in the final analysis, the royalty battle is likely to be waged with or without Watt’s participation.