Liberals continue their push for Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- and the idea appears to be gaining some steam within the administration.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last week praised the Harvard law professor and chairwoman of the TARP oversight panel. “I think she would be a very effective leader of that institution, and I think she has enormous credibility,” Geithner said at a breakfast meeting with reporters.
Warren has been a staunch supporter of creating the independent agency, which would be tasked with protecting consumers from the Wall Street excesses that many argue led to the 2008 financial collapse. The remarks came as something of a surprise in light of previous disagreements between the two when Geithner testified before Warren’s Congressional Oversight panel.
Support for Warren continued over the weekend when Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) told the Huffington Post, "I have advocated for the administration to back her. She has the full set of requirements to be an effective leader. So I certainly hope the administration will [take my advice]."
Even White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spoke positively about Warren this week. “I think Elizabeth Warren is a terrific candidate," Gibbs said in response to a question about Warren at Monday's White House press briefing. "I don't think any criticism in any way by anybody would disqualify her, and I think she is very confirmable for this job.”
But Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) earlier questioned Warren’s confirmability. "I think Elizabeth would be a terrific nominee," he said on WAMU's The Diane Rehm Show, per The Hill. "The question is, 'Is she confirmable?' And there's a serious question about it."
After Gibbs' comments, he told the liberal Web site Talking Points Memo, "I don't know, that's the question, how does he know that?" Dodd said in reference to Gibbs' assertion that she was "confirmable." Dodd added, "She's qualified, no question about that. The question is whether she's confirmable. The issue is [if] you can't confirm somebody, if you go six or seven months without someone in that job, you've got a problem."
There was then speculation that Warren could be appointed during Congress' August recess. But Dodd Tuesday vehemently opposed the idea of a recess appointment.
"I think that would be a huge mistake," he told TPM. "Recess appointments. No, no, no. ... I think those are, you know, Republicans used to do it, I think that's a mistake. Except in the most extreme circumstances where you need someone because of an emergency pending, but as a routine matter, I think it's a fundamental mistake."
While Warren appears to have gained support within the administration, her nomination is not a shoo-in. Other names being considered, include: Michael Barr, assistant secretary for financial institutions at the Treasury Department; and Gene Kimmelman, chief counsel for competition policy and intergovernmental relations at the Justice Department.