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The Left Starts Push for Warren

Today, more stories are adding detail to the debate over whether Elizabeth Warren should become the first head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The discussion kicked off after the final passage of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill, which will become law when President Obama signs it tomorrow. And it heated up when a Huffington Post story, citing unnamed sources and pushed back on by the White House, said that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner opposes the much-lauded Warren — a Harvard Law professor, expert on consumer finance and the current head of the Congressional Oversight Panel over the Troubled Asset Relief Program. (The idea for the CFPB is hers, to boot.)

Since then, the White House and legislators have rushed to offer praise, if not outright support, for her. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) circulated a letter asking legislators to get behind her. Dozens did so. And the White House signaled its possible support too. “While there are a number of strong choices under consideration for this position, Elizabeth Warren is a champion for consumers and middle-class families, and we are confident she is confirmable,” Jen Psaki, a White House spokesperson, said.

At The Washington Post, Brady Dennis confirms that Warren is a short-list candidate, along with Assistant Treasury Secretary Michael Barr and Eugene Kimmelman, a deputy attorney general and former consumer advocate. (The White House will name the head of the CFPB, and Congress has to confirm him or her.) And WaPo’s Neil Irwin details the concern that she does not have the executive experience necessary to run a bureaucracy.

Still, her advocates are coalescing on the left. Yesterday, Americans for Financial Reform endorsed her. Today, the SEIU and the AFL-CIO, the powerful labor unions, also threw their weight behind her. Of course, the question will be whether she can draw a Republican or two to vote for confirmation in the Senate. Thus far, none have come out publicly in support.

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