Things aren’t looking good for Elizabeth Warren… now’s the time to act

According to the folks at Talking Points Memo, it doesn’t look likely that Elizabeth Warren with get the nomination to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency that she’s been championing so aggressively this past year. Here’s a clip from the article:

Progressive pressure on President Obama to appoint Elizabeth Warren to head a soon-to-be-created consumer financial protection bureau has reached a fever pitch. But in a troubling sign for her supporters, the White House is remaining mum, and key senators aren’t rallying to her defense. In some cases quite the opposite.

“Elizabeth can be a terrific nominee but the question is, is she confirmable? And there is a serious question about that,” said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd during an interview on NPR Monday.

When the key senator who will have to shepherd any nomination through committee uses the likelihood of a successful filibuster as a reason to call something into doubt, the writing may well be on the wall…

Warren has not only my enthusiastic endorsement, but that of over 250 organizations working for significant, meaningful financial reform. Having successfully overseen the TARP program, she’s more than qualified, but it seems that financial industry insiders, like Timothy Geithner, have it in for her. And, I think it goes without saying that we cannot leave the decision as to who should be looking out for the interests of regular Americans to those men who got us into this mess in the first place. If you agree, please write to the White House, and send a quick note to your Senators, letting them know that you support Elizabeth Warren.

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  1. Bob
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    Very unlikely that the president will expend the effort it would take to get her confirmed. It would be a stretch even if he could get his own people to embrace her…which he probably can’t. Yet another wedge he will drive between himself and progressives. Who knows, maybe he will surprise us.

  2. Knox
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    It’s not like she’s a flaming radical socialist or something. People make it sound like she would tear apart our capitalist system and that’s simply not the case.

  3. Edward
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    USA Today also says it’s doubtful. Hopefully, Obama will surprise us and show some backbone here.

    Liberals say the choice to run the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is obvious: Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard University law professor who first proposed an office to protect ordinary borrowers and savers in a journal article three years ago. She’s spent years battling banks that gouge their customers.

    “She is simply the perfect choice for this post,” says Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who is circulating a letter seeking to build support for Warren among her congressional colleagues.

    Warren is on the short list for the job along with Assistant Treasury Secretary Michael Barr and Gene Kimmelman, the Justice Department’s chief counsel for competition policy and a former Consumers Union lobbyist. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said he did “not expect an imminent announcement.”

    The new consumer bureau, which will be housed inside the Federal Reserve, survived a furious banking industry lobbying campaign. It will have authority to write and enforce rules on everything from credit cards to payday loans.

    But opposition from the financial industry, already wary of a new regulatory agency with a $500 million annual budget and broad authority to police the financial marketplace, could jeopardize Warren’s chances for Senate confirmation.

    “Is she confirmable? There is a serious question about it,” Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said Monday on public radio’s Diane Rehm show.

    “Let’s hope not,” Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., told Bloomberg television Wednesday.

    The new consumer czar will have a major say in implementation of Obama’s regulatory makeover. “What we need really is someone not just with impeccable credentials as a passionate advocate for consumers, but also someone who deeply understands the logic of consumer finance,” says Charles Calomiris, finance professor at Columbia University. “Elizabeth Warren does not qualify.”

  4. Meta
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    From the Huffington Post:

    Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner conspicuously stopped short of endorsing Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Thursday morning. And while he praised her for her effective advocacy on behalf of consumers, he also refused to say whether he would be happy if she got the job.

    “I think she would be a very effective leader of that institution,” he said.

    At a breakfast meeting with reporters hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Geithner said he has not yet made his recommendation to President Obama about who should be nominated for the post.

    Asked who else might be in the running, Geithner noted that his “colleagues in the White House have put out two other names.” Those are Michael Barr, the assistant treasury secretary for financial institutions, and Eugene Kimmelman, who now oversees the Justice Department’s antitrust division.


  5. Kim
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I need to read the legislation, but, as I understand it, the new agency doesn’t really have teeth. Among other things, it reports back to the people it regulates. Warren had been pushing for an independent agency, but I don’t think that’s what was created.

  6. Posted July 22, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    This is just like that tired old movie line where the bookish scientist who discovers something important gets pushed aside as the slick people who ignored her before take over her project, fuck it up, and everyone realizes she was the right one for the job from the get go.

  7. Posted July 22, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this – I just finished writing a letter to the WH. Here’s to hopes of not being let down…

  8. kjc
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    i’m with you Peter. Except I don’t trust anyone to realize anything.

  9. Knox
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    We should take all the good, sane people and colonize the moon. Or, if we’re really up to the challenge, Detroit.

  10. Meta
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    The Nation has a good piece on the AIG ‘rescue’ and what Elizabeth Warren and her commission discovered.

    The government’s $182 billion bailout of insurance giant AIG should be seen as the Rosetta Stone for understanding the financial crisis and its costly aftermath. The story of American International Group explains the larger catastrophe not because this was the biggest corporate bailout in history but because AIG’s collapse and subsequent rescue involved nearly all the critical elements, including delusion and deception. These financial dealings are monstrously complicated, but this account focuses on something mere mortals can understand—moral confusion in high places, and the failure of governing institutions to fulfill their obligations to the public.

    Three governmental investigative bodies have now pored through the AIG wreckage and turned up disturbing facts—the House Committee on Oversight and Reform; the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which will make its report at year’s end; and the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP), which issued its report on AIG in June.

    The five-member COP, chaired by Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, has produced the most devastating and comprehensive account so far. Unanimously adopted by its bipartisan members, it provides alarming insights that should be fodder for the larger debate many citizens long to hear—why Washington rushed to forgive the very interests that produced this mess, while innocent others were made to suffer the consequences. The Congressional panel’s critique helps explain why bankers and their Washington allies do not want Elizabeth Warren to chair the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    The report concludes that the Federal Reserve Board’s intimate relations with the leading powers of Wall Street—the same banks that benefited most from the government’s massive bailout—influenced its strategic decisions on AIG. The panel accuses the Fed and the Treasury Department of brushing aside alternative approaches that would have saved tens of billions in public funds by making these same banks “share the pain.”

    Bailing out AIG effectively meant rescuing Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch (as well as a dozens of European banks) from huge losses. Those financial institutions played the derivatives game with AIG, the esoteric practice of placing financial bets on future events. AIG lost its bets, which led to its collapse. But other gamblers—the counterparties in AIG’s derivative deals—were made whole on their bets, paid off 100 cents on the dollar. Taxpayers got stuck with the bill.

    The rest of the story:

  11. Meta
    Posted August 12, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    There’s an interesting piece on Warren and how the Wells Fargo overdraft scam drives home the fact that she should head the new agency.

    The overdraft scam that Judge William Alsup slapped down yesterday is not unique to Wells Fargo– every big bank in the country has been doing it for years, and if it’s never happened to you, it’s probably happened to your friends or family. Banks make a lot of money from overdraft fees– $38 billion last year, compared to a combined industry profit of just $12.5 billion. They don’t make that money by accident. Internal company emails and memos from the Wells Fargo case show bankers spending a lot of time figuring out how to maximize the number of overdraft charges they can hit their checking customers with.

    One way is by changing the order in which your transactions are processed. Most people think that their checks and debit card purchases are processed in the order that they make them. But that’s not how banks actually do it. Instead, they wait for you to make several purchases, and then process the most expensive purchases first. This method pushes a customer’s balance to zero faster than the honest way that actually reflects buying habits. And the sooner your balance goes to zero, the more overdraft fees the bank can hit you with.

  12. Alfie J
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Elizabeth Warren just canceled the class she was supposed to start teaching at Harvard this semester. Some think this could be because she’s going to get the nomination.

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