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Al Franken To President Obama: Give Elizabeth Warren A Recess Appointment To Lead The CFPB


First Posted: 05/25/11 09:34 AM ET Updated: 07/25/11 06:12 AM ET

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) urged President Obama Wednesday to grant Elizabeth Warren a recess appointment to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

In September, the President tapped Warren as the chief architect of the agency charged with protecting consumers from abusive lenders. Since that time, the former Harvard professor has been serving as Special Adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury while helping create the new consumer agency.

"Since the president appointed Elizabeth Warren to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau she has proven she can stand up to Wall Street," Franken wrote in a letter that will be circulated by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee on Wednesday. "Now, it's time for a permanent leader to be appointed and, because Republican senators have vowed to block anyone, it's up to President Obama to use his power constitutional power to bypass Republicans and make a recess appointment."

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) first suggested the possibility of a recess appointment after Senate Republicans promised earlier this month to block anyone the President nominates.

"It's the worst abuse of the confirmation process I've ever seen," said Frank, as The Hill reported. "What it clearly says is that the president will have to make a recess appointment."

PCCC has organized an open letter to Obama to appoint Warren. Signers so far include a mix of lawmakers, academics, economists, progressive activists and Wall Street figures.

"Republicans boxed themselves in with their ridiculous letter saying they wouldn't confirm anybody who is nominated," said PCCC co-founder Adam Green. "We're showing the president that the public will have his back if he makes the logical decision -- to give Elizabeth Warren a recess appointment."

Warren may be the person Republicans least want to see in charge of the CFPB. The outspoken and respected academic and advocate is credited as the intellectual founder of the agency, which she advocated for four years ago.

Earlier this month, Republicans blocked a bid to name Warren the head of the agency. A measure offered by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) to give the top job to the person "credited with coming up with the idea" for the CFPB, failed on a party-line vote.

On Tuesday, Warren went through a contentious hearing before the House Oversight subcommittee. She frequently had to correct Republican lawmakers who were trying to grill her, and at one point was called a liar by subcommittee chair Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.).

Support for a recess appointment for Warren has even come from a group that once called her "akin to the Antichrist." In a May 19 letter, the president and CEO of the Oklahoma Banker's Association wrote to Obama and encouraged him to name her to the top job.

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