Elizabeth Warren might become head of the soon-to-open Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after all.
President Barack Obama has yet to nominate the CFPB's director, but with the bureau set to open July 21, a nomination is on its way. And Warren, who President Obama appointed last September to create a "watchdog for the American consumer," is still on the short list of the president's top choices, Businessweek recently reported.
The bureau has been under attack of late, and Warren has remained its staunchest defender. "Many in Congress have made clear their intention to defund, delay and defang the consumer agency before it can help one family," Warren said, according to HousingWire. "These bills are about preventing the CFPB from operating effectively."
Appointing Warren is not without risk. Her public calls for the creation of the bureau have made her unpopular with many Republicans.
Already, however, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and former Delaware Senator Ted Kaufman, both Democrats, have said they aren't interested in the job, instead advocating for Warren. And while Federal Reserve board member Sarah Bloom Raskin appears an attractive alternative, the Wall Street Journal reports, Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, considered another top choice, has explicitly stated his preference for Warren.
"My personal feeling is that Elizabeth Warren should have that position," Strickland said, according to the WSJ. "My preference would be for her to maintain that position."
Support for Warren within the business community has been tepid at best, and other candidates all have experience in the financial industry, Bloomberg reports. Frank Keating, head of the American Bankers Association, recently backtracked on what was seen as a statement of support for Warren no more than one hour and a half later.
"Let me clarify news reports that misrepresent ABA’s position on the potential nomination of Elizabeth Warren as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," Keating wrote in a statement. "ABA doesn’t weigh in on the nominations process."
Though Warren has been largely quiet on the issue of becoming director, she's certainly been a persistent advocate, holding two dozen meetings with journalists and bloggers in March to argue for the necessity of a CFPB with some level of authority, according to The New York Times. February wasn't too shabby, either, with Warren holding 14 such meetings.
Warren's defensive tactics follow a series of congressional efforts to weaken the bureau. Republican Representative Spencer Bachus, for one, has tried to push through legislation that would alter the hierarchical structure of the bureau, taking power away from a single director and spreading it among a five-member commission.
Last week, Warren criticized these efforts on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. "Now the game is, let's just see if we can stick a knife in the ribs of this consumer agency," she then said.
In the blogosphere, Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism and the anonymous financial lawyer writing for Economic of Contempt support another candidate, too: Sheila Bair, chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Bair, they believe, would as a Republican appease both the financial sector and fellow Republicans.
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