There was no way Elizabeth Warren was ever going to be the permanent director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The banks didn’t want her.
President Barack Obama has chosen a candidate other than Elizabeth Warren as director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a person briefed on the matter.
The bureau’s director requires confirmation by the Senate. After 44 Republican senators announced in May that they wouldn’t vote to approve any candidate to run the bureau without changes in its structure, analysts said the White House might have to resort to a temporary appointment during a congressional recess.
Everybody knew the Republicans wouldn’t vote for Warren from the outset. Obama could have appointed her as the director when the agency was created, so the “60 vote” excuse was a charade. Remember the reasons given by the White House at the time to explain why he didn’t?
The concern stressed by officials in the White House is that Warren would not be allowed to be the public face of the agency or to testify before Congress if under the virtual cone of silence of a Presidential nominee. This allows the agency to begin without delay. But down the road, she could still serve in the interim capacity while nominated for the position, and that’s frankly where this can go.
Of course the only thing “down the road” was the can that the President likes to kick in his favorite metaphor. It allowed him to give her the boot when things had cooled down a bit, and the issue was out of the headlines. From a political perspective, now is a smart time to do it, because the debt ceiling battle will consume everything in its wake.
And so Elizabeth Warren’s tenure at the CFPB ends in a Friday night news dump.
The bright side (if there is a bright side) is that Warren will be able to speak more freely if she’s not the head of the agency, and we could use some adults in the conversation right now. A giant manufactured debt ceiling crisis is being used to force Shock Doctrine austerity on the country. I hope somebody will ask her how she’d handle things if she was President.
What do you think Elizabeth Warren would do about the debt ceiling showdown if she was in Obama’s shoes right now?
Update: Dday has more: The agency transfers to the Fed on July 21, and without a Director at the helm, it loses the ability to regulate non-bank financial institutions like payday lenders and mortgage brokers.” Since the GOP probably won’t approve anyone for the position, the only hope would have been for Obama to make a recess appointment. Looks like the banks will get what they want.