Despite taking jabs on Twitter at former U.S. Rep. Mel Watt of Charlotte last week, U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger said Friday that the two men are friends.
In the tweets, the Charlotte Republican criticized “Washington policies, supported by Mel Watt,” a Democrat. Those policies led to inflated home prices, record foreclosures and the “largest taxpayer-funded bailout in history,” Pittenger said in one of the tweets.
During an interview with the Observer on Friday, Pittenger called the media coverage of his tweets “media buzz.”
“That’s so silly,” he said. “Mel and I are friends. We have different view points on important policy.”
“We’ve been buddies a long time.”
Watt is now the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, a position he was named to in 2013. The FHFA oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Republicans have been critical of Watt’s efforts, as FHFA director, to help more people obtain mortgages. One concern, they say, is that the move will give mortgages to some people who can’t afford to pay them, exposing the U.S. to a scenario like the one that helped trigger the financial crisis.
On Wednesday, in an interview with reporters in Washington, Watt said he was not holding Pittenger’s tweets against him and called him “a personal friend of mine.”
Also Friday, Pittenger listed some of the topics he expects the House Financial Services Committee, on which he sits, to focus on this year. He said one top focus will be examining banking rules and regulations that he says are hurting lenders and making it tough for many borrowers, such as small businesses, to access capital.
Washington policies, supported by Mel Watt, helped put people in homes they couldn’t afford to keep. Live 10 AM: http://t.co/5YuZ4apCJA— Rep Robert Pittenger (@reppittenger) January 27, 2015