Democratic lawmakers are lining up to back the appointment of Elizabeth Warren to head the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) were joined by Rep. Jackie Speier, (D-Calif.) and other members on Thursday to voice their support and admiration for the Harvard professor and expert on economics and the middle class.
"In my living room with many members of congress, she predicted what was going to happen several years ago," Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) told reporters at the Capitol Thursday afternoon. "As she put it in 2007, consumers cannot buy a toaster that has a one in five chance of bursting into flames but they can enter into a mortgage that has the same one in five chance of putting them out onto the street."
Over 164,000 Americans have signed a petition in favor of Warren's appointment, and 57 representatives and 11 senators sent two letters to the White House on Thursday. DeLauro claimed that in the past 24 hours more than one hundred constituents have called her office asking her to support Warren.
Warren's populist outspokenness has earned her a grassroots following and the White House has said she's confirmable. But some lawmakers still worry that she wouldn't make it past the Senate. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) acknowledged that danger but called it "a fight worth having."
As chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, Warren supported the passage of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. She was also the original architect for the new bureau for consumer protection, which Warren says she views as "a way for the rest of us to... get some balance, some leveling of the playing field, so that people can really see the products they're buying."
Almost a dozen lawmakers stepped forward to sing Warren's praises Thursday, calling her "indispensable" and a "burr under the saddle of official Washington." "Professor Warren we cannot, Ma'm, do it without you," said DeLauro.
"It is absolutely necessary that we have a strong, smart consumer advocate who will look out for the needs of ordinary people," said Senator Sanders. "What I like best about Elizabeth Warren is that she can take very complicated financial issues and speak in a language that ordinary Americans actually understand."
Although she appears to be popular among left-leaning Washingtonians, Warren disclosed in a recent interview that she's not a fan of Washington.
"I'm not overwhelmingly impressed by people with money, by people with power, people who trade on the things that are traded on either on Wall Street or in Washington," she said. "I'm not a Washington person and I never had any desire to have a job in Washington. And I have to tell you, having been here now for over a year and a half, my enthusiasm has not improved. But I have to say, I get it -- Washington is a place where a lot of things get done."
It's rare to see such active lobbying before the nomination process has even begun, and some have questioned whether lawmakers aren't anticipating industry backlash or an uphill political battle.
But when asked if she is confirmable, Harkin had a ready reply.
"I believe so but you don't know until you try. I don't want this thing nipped in the bud. Are the Republicans, when we bring her name up going to argue that she shouldn't be confirmed because she's too tough on the big banks and too tough on the financial industry? Boy, that'll get them a lot of votes in November!"
In addition, White House spokespersons have repeatedly said that Warren is confirmable
Watch Warren discuss her views about Washington and the possibility of being nominated.
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