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Friday, September 17, 2010

It's official: Elizabeth Warren tapped to put together Consumer Protection Bureau

This morning, the White House confirmed what has been an open secret for many hours: Elizabeth Warren has been chosen to put together the new Consumer Protection Bureau created by the Restoring American Financial Stability Act. Warren is the only logical choice, given that the agency was largely her idea, and she is a strong advocate for consumer protection.

To avoid having a nomination stuck in limbo, the President has opted to appoint Warren to be a special adviser to both himself and to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who has ironically been the subject of Warren's criticism.

The President appeared this morning with Warren in the Rose Garden to discuss her appointment. Here are the last few paragraphs from his remarks:
Secretary Geithner and I both agree that Elizabeth is the best person to stand this agency up. She was the architect behind the idea for a consumer watchdog, so it only makes sense that she’d be the -- she should be the architect working with Secretary of Treasury Geithner in standing up the agency.

She will help oversee all aspects of the bureau’s creation, from staff recruitment to designing policy initiatives to future decisions about the agency. She will have direct access to me and to Secretary Geithner, and she will oversee a staff at the Treasury Department that has already begun to work on this task.

She will also play a pivotal role in helping me determine who the best choice is for director of the bureau. And given the importance of these economic issues, I also want Elizabeth to have a role as a White House advisor as well as advisor to Secretary Geithner on consumer issues.

Elizabeth understands what I strongly believe — that a strong, growing economy begins with a strong and thriving middle class. And that means every American has to get a fair shake in their financial dealings.

For years financial companies have been able to spend millions of dollars on their own watchdog — lobbyists who look out for their interests and fight for their priorities. That's their right.

But from now on, consumers will also have a powerful watchdog — a tough, independent watchdog whose job it is to stand up for their financial interests, for their families’ future. And I am proud that we got this done, and I'm equally proud that Elizabeth Warren will be helping to make her original vision a reality.

So we are extremely proud of you, Elizabeth. Good luck.
Well said! President Obama has hit a grand slam with this appointment. This is one of the best moves the administration has made in a long time.

Republicans are already protesting bitterly, but they have no one to blame but themselves. They have done everything they can to prevent the Senate from transacting business, including the consideration of nominations for executive and judicial offices. They should not be surprised that the President is using his lawful authority to move forward and get the Consumer Protection Bureau set up.

Warren does not even want to be the director of the new agency, so it makes little sense to nominate her. What she wants to do is use her expertise to get it going, and then help select a permanent director.

She evidently doesn't want to be tied down for too long — Markos keeps talking about her running against Scott Brown in 2012 — but it's possible that she has plans that don't involve seeking office or even public life at all.

We're just grateful for the services she has already rendered to our country, and thrilled that she is getting the opportunity to actually build this agency from the ground up. There is no one more qualified for the job.

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