The rumor mill has the latest on the long-running saga about whether the administration will nominate Harvard Law professor and TARP watchdog Elizabeth Warren to head her brainchild consumer-protection agency since it was created by the Dodd-Frank financial-regulation bill. Apparently, the White House was considering appointing her the "interim" director of the agency during its initial shakedown period before nominating her -- or another candidate -- to undergo Senate confirmation and head the agency permanently.
The White House denied that the plan is under consideration, but that simply suggests they have already discarded the option. Appointing Warren as an interim director is a poor plan both substantively and strategically: On policy, she's right for the job, so the president should appoint her and keep her there. Politically, no one will be fooled by appointing her interim director, and the president will still face conservative objections. Should he remove her after that, it would be a major symbolic defeat, and if he thinks he can win the fight, why not have it now -- before the election?
The more likely calculus is that the administration will appoint her or not, and the impression I come away with is that the appointment is still the most probable outcome. There is some sign of that in the president's comments at his recent press conference praising her and casting her critics as part of partisan Republican opposition. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has always been the president's greatest interest in the financial overhaul; of the few times he personally intervened in the legislative process, it was often to defend the CFPB. It's hard to think he'd work so hard to create the new agency and then fail to appoint its prime mover.
-- Tim Fernholz
You need to be logged in to comment.
(If there's one thing we know about comment trolls, it's that they're lazy)