From David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division:
Reports that President Barack Obama will give Elizabeth Warren a major role in establishing the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are welcome news. Warren offers the promise of what financial consumers need most – a tough advocate to clean up an industry that has made unfairness and deception its core business model.
The details of the post are unclear, but early indications are positive. Warren would serve as an assistant to the president and a special advisor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. It is important that Warren answer directly to the president and have his ear, not merely work within the Treasury Department.
We are disappointed that the president has not nominated Warren to direct the agency. It is understandable that some might view confirmation as difficult at present, given Senate Republicans’ persistent and arbitrary obstruction of so many nominees. But Warren is confirmable, and a fight over her confirmation is worth having. The big banks and their supporters in Senate would be foolish to oppose her with the American public watching. Warren would emerge from the fight not only confirmed, but even better known and therefore strengthened as a national champion for consumers. We urge President Obama to nominate her.
Note: Public Citizen launched a petition drive urging Obama to nominate Warren to run the new consumer financial protection agency. Last month, we delivered more than 15,000 signatures to the White House.