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Telecommunications investor is nominated as FCC chairman

Updated: 2013-05-02T00:31:42Z

FCC nominee

President Barack Obama has nominated Tom Wheeler, an investor in telecommunications startups who a decade or more ago served as the chief lobbyist for two industry trade groups, as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Consumer groups expressed misgivings over the appointment, wondering whether the new chairman would work to promote the public interest in regulation of wireless phone companies, broadband Internet service and other emerging technologies. But some noted that he was involved in the wireless industry back when it was smaller and more entrepreneurial.

Housing choice

President Barack Obama intends to nominate Rep. Melvin Watt, a North Carolina Democrat, to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the government regulator that oversees lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

If confirmed by the Senate, Watt, a 20-year veteran of the House, will replace Edward DeMarco, an appointee of George W. Bush who has been a target of housing advocates, liberal groups and Democratic lawmakers.

Watt’s nomination comes at a crucial time for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-sponsored mortgage finance enterprises that the government rescued at the height of the financial crisis in September 2008 as they teetered neared collapse from losses on soured mortgage loans. Taxpayers have spent about $170 billion to rescue the companies. So far, they have repaid a combined $55.2 billion.

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