Obama May Name Warren as Interim Consumer Agency Head
President Barack Obama may appoint Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor who scolded U.S. banks while overseeing their bailout, as the interim head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as early as this week, according to a person familiar with the matter.
An interim appointment could allow Obama to bypass a confirmation battle over Warren in the Senate, where Republicans have raised objections to her possible nomination.
Today, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd said he was “not enthusiastic” about an interim appointment because it could jeopardize the future of the bureau by inviting retaliation by Congress that could cut off funding for the office.
“You could gut this before it even gets off ground,” Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, told reporters. “None of us know what the outcome is going to be politically” in the congressional elections, said Dodd, whose committee would take the lead on confirmation of a permanent appointee.
An interim appointment “will be met with a lot of opposition,” Dodd said. “It’s a big job, an important job. You’ve got to build the support for that institutionally” with Congress. He has questioned whether Warren could win the votes for confirmation.
‘In the Mix’
The White House hasn’t publicly acknowledged the choice. White House spokesman Bill Burton said Warren is “obviously in the mix.” An interim appointment is “an option,” Burton said.