The Democrats’ top point man on Wall Street reform is pressing President Obama — hard — to appoint Elizabeth Warren to head the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In an appearance on MSNBC, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank threw his full support to Warren and warned Obama that, unlike other disappointments, he’d be held directly accountable if the nomination goes to somebody else.
“It is essential to the bill and very, very important that Elizabeth Warren be appointed [to head the consumer financial protection bureau],” Frank said.
I would say to the President, I sympathize with President Obama,” Frank added. “He’s been criticized by some of my liberal friends. We didn’t get a public option and other things we wanted. That wasn’t his fault. The economic recovery bill, the stimulus, it wasn’t as big as it should have been. That wasn’t his fault. He couldn’t get the votes. With regard to appointing Elizabeth Warren, that’s his decision. No one can stop him from making it. I hope he will appoint her.
The technocratic critique of Warren is that she may not have sufficient management experience to run a major new bureaucracy. Frank sought to downplay those concerns.
“I need people to understand she’s not a zealous advocate but a very smart operator,” Frank said. “Sometimes people think those are separate. That if you care a lot about an issue, you’re not going to be effective in putting it forward. I never had a better partner on a tough fight than I had in Elizabeth Warren. Her knowledge is great. Her compassion is great. She stands out as the person who ought to be running that agency.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.