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Counting Warren Votes

Over at The New Republic, Noam Scheiber counts the votes for Elizabeth Warren, the current head of the Congressional Oversight Panel over the Troubled Asset Relief Program, a Harvard Law professor and progressives’ choice to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Any nominee will need 60 votes to overcome a presumed filibuster in the Senate.

[T]he GOP has been willing to filibuster even seemingly popular proposals. But, after surveying a dozen insiders over the last few days — congressional aides, industry officials, progressive activists, and a few administration officials — I’ve concluded that the odds are good that Warren would be confirmed if nominated by the White House. (The White House itself agrees — it is ”confident she is confirmable,” according to a spokeperson.)

Most telling is the basic Senate math. According to two senior Senate aides — one whose boss favors Warren and the other whose boss would prefer an alternative — pretty much every Senate Democrat (and Independent) would find it agonizingly difficult to join a filibuster of Warren’s nomination, which would mean opposing an outspoken consumer advocate at a time of deep anti-Wall Street sentiment. Simply put: hoping the president will choose another candidate — something that describes several Senate Democrats — isn’t the same as opposing his eventual nominee.

Scheiber notes that an aide for Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), a possible crossover, seemed to smile on Warren, without confirming or denying the Senator’s support for her: The aide says he has “worked well with Ms. Warren in her current oversight and he appreciates that she hasn’t been a rubber stamp for the administration and the fact that she’s kept the Treasury Department’s feet to the fire.” And Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) has also signaled her approval of Warren in the past.

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