Wednesday, April 2, 2014 | 2 a.m.
U.S. House Democrats voted Tuesday to appoint Nevada Rep. Steven Horsford to the prestigious House Financial Services committee.
Horsford will fill the Democratic seat that had been empty since North Carolina Rep. Mel Watt was confirmed as the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency in January.
The appointment will give Horsford influence over national housing policy, a key issue for Nevada. The House Financial Services committee provides oversight for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and housing-related programs run by the Department of the Treasury. The committee also oversees banking, insurance and federal monetary policy.
“This committee will provide me an opportunity to directly impact federal policy to help Nevadans stay in their homes,” Horsford said in an interview Tuesday.
Nevada endured one of the worst housing market crashes of any state. But federal programs to mitigate foreclosures and underwater mortgages iced out many Nevada homeowners. They were too far gone to qualify for the help.
The House Financial Services committee’s heavy workload typically requires members to give up all other committee assignments. For Horsford, that would mean giving up seats on three other committees: Homeland Security, Oversight and Government Reform, and Natural Resources. On Natural Resources, Horsford led a number of public lands bills that have sparked conflicts with Republican leaders, most recently with Tule Springs.
But Horsford secured at least a partial promise from House Democratic leaders that will allow him to serve on at least one other committee. He is lobbying to keep Natural Resources given the state’s 86 percent ground cover of federal land.