Appointing Warren To New Consumer Post Is ‘Fight Worth Having,’ Bernie Sanders Says

One of the foremost advocates of tapping Elizabeth Warren to lead a new consumer-protection agency acknowledges her confirmation to the post is not assured, but that a debate on her appointment would be a “fight worth having.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is one of those on the left urging President Obama to name Warren to head a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by the new Wall Street reform law enacted last month.

The new consumer bureau has been touted as one of the major advances within the Wall Street reform law, and Sanders and other Democrats have been circulating a letter and an online petition, pressing Obama to put Warren at the head of the organization. Sanders notes that “tens of thousands of Americans” signed that petition to appoint Warren, to what he admits is a “somewhat obscure job.”

The new bureau is intended to to protect consumers from abusive and dishonest banking and financial practices. The agency needs a “strong Director” to be effective, Sanders’ letter to Obama says.

Warren is uniquely suited to this new job, as she first postulated creation of such a consumer-protection agency in a 2007 scholarly article, Sanders says.

The White House has indicated that the president has made no decision on who to name to the post.

“Elizabeth has played a great role in standing up to Wall Street. Given that the outrageous greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street caused the horrendous recession that we are still suffering through, it is absolutely necessary that we have a strong, smart consumer advocate who will look out for their needs as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” Sanders says.

“Maybe the biggest reason to support her is that the big banks are pulling out all the stops to block her nomination. They are afraid of having someone looking over their shoulder who knows the ways they rip off consumers and will make them stop it,” Sanders adds.

A Harvard professor, Warren currently leads the Congressional Oversight Panel which serves as a watchdog for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). TARP is the name given to the massive federal fund created in 2008 to bailout the U.S. financial sector after the meltdown earlier that year.

Sanders seems not overly concerned that there may not be sufficient support for Warren to receive the affirmative confirmation vote in the Senate she would need to take the job, even if Obama offered it.

“She has a very good chance to be confirmed, but it is a fight worth having. This is a debate that has to happen,” he says.

The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.


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