Does President Barack Obama plan to appoint Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor and former chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP, this week as the interim head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and circumvent a Senate confirmation process? That question has been swirling around in various press reports, but on Thursday Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said no.
A story on Thursday in The Huffington Post quotes Dodd as telling reporters that “… Elizabeth will be some sort of adviser” at the CFPB. The administration needs “to send us a director, though, a nominee. The issue’s no different today than it was yesterday. We need a nominee that can be confirmed by the Senate to run the place.” Dodd has been vocal in insisting that if Warren were appointed chief, she could not win the 60 votes needed to defeat a GOP filibuster. An administration official told The Huffington Post that Warren will be named “assistant to the president and special adviser to the Treasury,” in charge of setting up the CFPB.
News that Obama was planning to circumvent a Senate confirmation and appoint Warren as CFPB chief had some republican Senators hopping mad.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., sent Obama a letter on Wednesday expressing his “concern” for the President’s plans to bypass the intent of the Dodd-Frank Act passed this summer, which established a confirmation process for the new head of the CFPB. “I hope, as sometimes happens in Washington, these reports prove to be unfounded,” Corker wrote.
A spokesperson for Warren told AdvisorOne that she was currently not available for press interviews. The creation of the CFPB, where it would be housed, and what authority it would have was a major sticking point for lawmakers who were part of the conference debate on the Dodd-Frank Act. In early August, a group of 141 leading law and other professors from across the U.S. sent a letter to Obama encouraging him to appoint Warren as CFPB chief.