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OT: Elizabeth Warren Tapped as Interim Head of CFPA *updated*

September 15, 2010

I hope that by “interim” the WH means “temporarily only until we get around to formally nominating her.”

Elizabeth Warren has been a tireless advocate for the middle class for ages and the CFPA was her idea to begin with:

The White House has tapped Elizabeth Warren as a special adviser to help set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, ABC News is reporting. The move allows her to act as an interim head of the CFPB and will enable her to begin setting up the agency immediately and prevent the GOP from filibustering her nomination. Warren could serve until Obama nominates a permanent director — a nomination he’s not required to make for some time. Obama could also nominate her as the permanent director in the near future, a prospect that has been discussed among top aides, according to a person familiar with the White House deliberations. Warren will also be named as a special adviser directly to Obama, ABC reported.

A senior Democratic congressional aide with knowledge of the decision confirmed the ABC report to HuffPost.

The CFPB was a cornerstone of President Obama’s Wall Street reform package and Warren is credited as the intellectual founder of the agency. The ability of the administration to nominate an acting director indefinitely was first reported by HuffPost in July.

On Tuesday, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Banking Committee, said that such an interim appointment could create a backlash and lead the next Congress to defund the bureau. On Friday, Simon Johnson laid out the case for an interim appointment…

What is Chris “Bank Man” Dodd’s problem? Every chance he gets he makes sure we all know that he thinks Warren should not head the CFPA. Whatever, Dodd. And we know Timmy Geithner didn’t want her as head, either.

I’m a big Warren fan and this is good news. I just hope that this isn’t political smoke and mirrors and that Warren will really be able to shape the agency and give it some teeth.

UPDATE:There has been some confusion about what Warren will be doing as an interim head and Adviser to the President and I think that confusion is understandable. However Barney Frank came out today and reassured everyone that Warren will have the leeway to do what she needs to do and that she wanted to be appointed interim head as opposed to being nominated for a permanent position. So that makes me feel better. I really can’t see Warren taking a position that wouldn’t allow her to do what she needs/wants to do- she’s no political hack. Btw, I really love Barney Frank, who happens to be my congressman- and this made me like him all the more.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. SpfcMarcus permalink
    September 15, 2010 7:46 pm

    Good, now maybe the middle class can get a break.

    Eat your heart out Wall Street.

  2. discourseincsharpminor permalink
    September 15, 2010 9:53 pm

    This is a step in the right direction. Chris Dodd is a moron. I certainly won’t miss him.

  3. Carolyn-Rodham permalink
    September 15, 2010 10:48 pm

    Pretty clever of Obama, too. Nice to see.

  4. September 16, 2010 5:40 am

    Uh oh, trouble in paradise:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/09/elizabeth-warren-on-way-to-being-sidelined-as-head-of-consumer-protection-agency-relegated-to-advisor-role.html

    I honestly don’t know what to believe regarding this. I want to believe Obama did this to do the right thing for once. I really, really do.

    It’s pretty clear that Geithner, Summers and the boys probably can’t stand her and want to diminish her influence. You know, like they did Brooksly Born. I think this admin. is too tight with Wall Street, irrespective of what Mort Zuckerman whines about in the pages of his little pet project U.S. News & World Report.

    • plural permalink
      September 16, 2010 7:41 am

      She’s not being “marginalized.” Appointing her this way is political reality — if she’d been nominated, her nomination would have been stalled in the Senate for who knows how long.

      This way she can get to work.

      • September 16, 2010 7:59 am

        Plural, I tend to agree and hope you are right. If they put her up for nomination the GOP would stall and block it and then eventually even kill the nomination. I can’t help but think she’s too smart to be marginalized or played like that.

        That said, I think she’s the anti-Geithner and anti-Summers and it will be interesting to see what she is able to do given they put the CFPA in Treasury (which is not what consumer advocates and Warren herself wanted, for obvious reasons). At this stage I wouldn’t underestimate Summers & Co. So while I am hopeful, I’m also aware of the political realities and the influence of Wall Street. Of course, I’m a bit biased, I really don’t care for Geithner and Summers at all. Ultimately I do hope she’s given a lot of independence and leeway to do what she thinks to be done.

        It’s really pathetic that the GOP has essentially made it a requirement that the controlling party needs a supermajority to get anything done and that filibusters are used all the time. I seem to recall when the GOP was in control they practically considered filibuster’s un-American! Until of course they needed to use them. You would think during some interview that maybe David Gregory or Jake Tapper or anyone else for that matter, would go to YouTube and pulls some videos of the GOP flipping out over filibusters and ask them “so, what has changed?”. Or maybe the Dems could do that and make a political ad? They aren’t very good at fighting back these days.

    • plural permalink
      September 16, 2010 7:50 am

      See this, in today’s New York Times:

      If Ms. Warren’s nomination were in limbo for months, she would be generally precluded from serving fully as the public face of the bureau, or even testifying before Congress.

      “The stakes are too high to delay the standing up of this agency,” the official said.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/16/business/16consumer.html

      • September 16, 2010 8:03 am

        Yeah, I get the rationale for doing it this way, I really do. But there are some out there who are more skeptical, which was the point of my posting the other article. My motto- trust and verify. We’ll see what happens. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what the NYT or me or anyone else thinks, what matters is that she’s empowered to do what she thinks she needs to do to protect consumers and that she accomplishes what she sets out to accomplish.

  5. Lulu permalink
    September 16, 2010 8:39 am

    I think there is nothing wrong with questioning the motives of this administration because they send totally mixed messages on everything and in particular their economic policies.

    They say Summers may have played a role in pushing Romer out recently- she was kind of annoying but there was no doubt she was qualified. She had to take the fall for announcing lower unemployment numbers when apparently it was Summers who pushed to have them lowered- she thought unemployment would be over 8% but Summers said “no.” No matter what crappy advice Summers gives to a POTUS its always other people that get fired or leave. Interesting huh? Summers seems to have an issue with smart women. I hope Warren totally steamrolls over that idiot. She sure did over Geithner during TARP hearings. THAT’s why the boys can’t stand her- she showed they had totally f’d up the bailout money.

  6. September 17, 2010 6:19 am

    I updated the post with some articles that have trickled out- one which explains a bit why people are so confused- I think part of the reason is the admin. didn’t really do a great job explaining the interim head role. Then there is an article quoting Barney Frank saying that Warren didn’t want a permanent position. She has a pretty cushy faculty “chair” at Harvard Law- I don’t know how long one retains that or how long a sabatical can last. I do think Warren has too much integrity to take or stay in a position that renders her little more than a figure-head. Some are saying they hope she goes into politics when she leaves the CFPA and runs for office. I for one hope she doesn’t run for office. I think some people can do much more good from the outside- she would have to make too many compromises if she ran for office.

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