Warren In The Running To Lead Consumer Protection Bureau
Throughout the crafting of financial reform legislation, the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau, a new entity to protect consumer transactions, was central to the fight. Large banks lobbied aggressively against it, spending an unprecedented amount of money. Now the fight is about who will lead it.
Progressive groups are waging a vocal campaign in support of Elizabeth Warren. President Obama tapped Warren to oversee the $700 billion bank bail out. As head of the panel to oversee the TARP program, the Harvard professor built a reputation of being tough on banks while aiming to protect home owners, victims of sub prime loans and other consumers.
Her get-tough-on-banks stance has resulted in a Warren fan club of sorts.
Aaron Schwartz, Co-Founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, started an online petition that now has more than 160,000 signatures. He says Warren is the right person for the job.
Warren “has been a real watchdog voice fighting for working people up against these big banks that have been cheating them,” Schwartz said.
The first person to lead the CFPB would have a large amount of authority to shape the role and scope of the bureau.
The President is in charge of appointing the person to head it, but Senate confirmation is needed.
On the “Diane Rehm Show,” Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said Warren’s confirmation in the Senate would be difficult.
Conservative Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska said he is hearing from banks in Nebraska opposed to her. “Some have been more negative than positive,” he said.
Senator Nelson refused to say if he would support her. He wasn’t the only one. Most Senators are withholding their opinion until the President makes his decision.
Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, deflected a question on his position. He said, “That’s a decision for the President.”
Jim Manley, Spokesperson to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said he would be “dumbfounded” if Warren was nominated because of the difficulty she would receive being confirmed by the Senate.
But Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is advocating on her behalf. He wrote the President a letter Monday. In a short interview, he said the way to show his dedication to reforming the financial industry is for the President to “do the right thing” and nominate Warren.
“There is a good deal of discontent within the Progressive community that the President has not been strong enough in terms of standing up to Wall Street,” Sanders said.
In a conference call with reporters last week, the President’s adviser, David Axelrod, said Warren is “obviously a candidate to lead this effort.”
Follow Leigh Ann on Twitter.