The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday backed Representative Mel Watt to be the next regulator of government-controlled mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, sending the nomination to the full Senate where it faces an uncertain fate.

President Barack Obama nominated Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina, to replace Edward DeMarco as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency on May 1, but many Republicans were quick to make clear they would not support the nominee.

The panel approved the choice strictly along party lines, a sign of the trouble the nomination is likely to face in the full chamber, where some Republican support will likely be needed for Watt to win final approval.