Warren to Be Special Adviser for Consumer Protection Agency

Posted September 15, 2010 at 7:17pm

Updated: 8:51 p.m.

President Barack Obama will tap Elizabeth Warren to be a special adviser to the president and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in leading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a Democratic official confirmed Wednesday night.

“The president is appointing Elizabeth Warren to be an Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” the official, who is familiar with negotiations, said in an e-mail. “In this role, Ms. Warren will report directly to the president and to Secretary Geithner and lead the administration’s work in standing up the CFPB, a task that was assigned to the Treasury in the Wall Street Reform Act.”

Warren currently heads the oversight panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. News of the advisory position, which Obama will formally announce this week, ends months of speculation about the Harvard University professor’s role in the new agency, which was created under this year’s financial regulatory overhaul to police financial products for individuals.

Warren had been a leading candidate to become the consumer agency’s chief, but some Democrats said they believed she is too liberal to be confirmed. The advisory position would avert a contentious Senate confirmation process. The president is expected to name a chief later, and Warren may still be under consideration.

The president accused Republicans of “playing games” with his appointees by delaying the confirmation process. “I am concerned about all Senate nominations these days. I’ve got people who have been waiting for six months to get confirmed who nobody has an official objection to and who were voted out of committee unanimously, and I can’t get a vote on them,” Obama said at a news conference Friday.

“It’s very hard when you’ve got a determined minority in the Senate that insists on a 60-vote filibuster on every single person that we’re trying to confirm, even if after we break the filibuster, it turns out that they get 90 votes,” he said.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) sent a letter to Obama on Wednesday urging him not to circumvent the Senate confirmation process for the consumer protection position.

“This particular position, one that was created just months ago, is unprecedented in the nature of its unfettered and unchecked authorities, which makes the confirmation process even more important to the interests of the American people,” Corker said. “I hope you will take seriously the intent and will of Congress to have a Senate confirmation process for the head of this new agency.”