The new financial reform bill will create a consumer protection agency, the brainchild of professor and TARP overseer Elizabeth Warren, Washington's toughest regulatory voice. She should obviously be its first director! But what if she's "too tough" on banks?
Warren's voice became more prominent over the last decade for her work studying credit card company abuses and other, suddenly very common financial sector exploitations of the debt-saddled middle class. Her fame and popularity "exploded" (Washington-wise!) after she was appointed to chair the TARP oversight board in 2008, where she's tried her damnedest and spoken quite candidly in public about Treasury's shitty disclosure record.
Treasury secretary Tim Geithner naturally thinks she is very annoying. He probably doesn't want her running the new rule-writing financial regulatory authority, because she would very much try to write rules, and "rules" destroy the global financial system.
Geithner's official position is that "believes that Elizabeth Warren is exceptionally well qualified to lead the new bureau," which seems to fit in with the possible game plan Sen. Chris Dodd hinted at this morning: that she's great but, you know... Republicans! It would all be the Republicans fault, see?
"I think Elizabeth would be a terrific nominee," Dodd told NPR's Diane Rehm on Monday. "The question is, 'Is she confirmable?' And there's a serious question about it."
Liberals have pushed Warren's name as a possible choice to lead the new agency, which was created in the Wall Street reform bill, legislation Dodd helped to author. Her record as chairwoman of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) oversight board has caused those on the left to be optimistic that she would add some teeth to the new agency.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has circulated a letter that backs Warren as head of the consumer agency.
Dodd said it was conceivable Warren could win the 60 votes necessary - meaning one Republican would have to cross the aisle if all 59 Democrats voted together - but cautioned she wasn't the only qualified candidate for the position.
If Elizabeth Warren isn't nominated, with the excuse being "confirmability," then sorry, White House. Your friends won't blame Republicans for the failure this time.
[Image via AP]