Speculation rose again yesterday that the White House may soon consider appointing Elizabeth Warren as “interim director” of the new Bureau Of Consumer Financial Protection and avoid the possibility of an ugly Senate confirmation battle. Progressives have longed argued (myself included) in favor of the Administration’s choice of Warren to head the bureau, with many favoring the possibility of a recess appointment, allowing Warren to bypass what would surely become another obstruction tactic by Republicans.
Last week brought another hopeful sign when Warren abruptly canceled classes she was scheduled to teach in the fall at Harvard Law School. With this week’s developments, there may be cause for cautious optimism:
People familiar with the deliberations caution that President Obama has yet to make a final decision on the matter, and it is still plausible that Obama could nominate Warren outright for the job or that he could settle on another candidate. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) has said that any candidate should go through the Senate confirmation process, and he raised questions about whether Warren is “confirmable.”
Dodd has spoken highly of Warren as a choice for the job, only to change his mind later on, in what many see as self-serving to his future interests as a lobbyist in the banking industry. Although he’s raised doubts about Warren, according to yesterday’s New York Times “Mr. Dodd has pledged to support Ms. Warren if she is nominated.”
A White House spokeswoman said Monday:
“Elizabeth Warren has been a stalwart voice for American consumers and families and she was the architect of the idea that became the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The president will have more to say about the agency and its mission soon.”
Obama himself had this to say:
“The idea for this agency was Elizabeth Warren’s. She’s a dear friend of mine. She’s somebody I’ve known since I was in law school. And, you know, I have been in conversations with her. She is a tremendous advocate for this idea,” he said during his news conference Friday. “This is a big task, standing up this entire agency. So I’ll have an announcement soon about how we’re going to move forward. And, you know, I think what’s fair to say is, is that I have had conversations with Elizabeth over the course of these — over these last couple of months, but I’m not going to make an official announcement until — until it’s ready.”
In my opinion, Elizabeth Warren is the absolute best choice for the job, and I’m certainly not alone. As I wrote back in August, if there was any doubt in your mind who progressives would choose to be in charge of getting the country out of its financial mess and put the necessary regulations in place to do so, you would have known had you heard her speak at Netroots Nation this past July. That certainly hasn’t changed, and I would argue that the same holds true even more so today.
If you would like to read my earlier post on Warren, you can do so here.