Battle Heightens Over Consumer Protection Agency Nomination

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WASHINGTON – Democratic lawmakers on Thursday responded to increased efforts by Republicans to block the nomination of Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency and called on President Obama to move ahead with the controversial appointment.

In a letter signed by 89 House Democrats, the lawmakers urged the president to bypass the Senate confirmation process where 44 Republicans have vowed to block the appointment and to name the Harvard law professor as a recess appointment during the next Senate recess. The letter comes as the Senate has blocked this week’s traditional Memorial Day recess by keeping the Senate in pro forma session – just to block Warren’s appointment.

“If Republicans in the Senate indeed refuse to consider her, we request that you use your constitutional authority to make her a recess appointment,” reads the letter, spearheaded by Democratic Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Brad Miller and Keith Ellison. The lawmakers also showed a petition supporting Warren with 250,000 signatures gathered by liberal groups Progressive Change Campaign Committee and CREDO Action.

Warren, who fought credit unions and banks long and hard over bankruptcy reform, has become a lightening rod for Republicans who are working to neuter the fledgling consumer agency, which she is organizing as an advisor to the Treasury Department. Republicans, along with credit unions and banks, oppose the agency, arguing it will have too much power and could restrict credit and the types of financial products that can be offered.

If Warren were appointed during a Senate recess, she could serve in the job only until the end of next year, rather than the five-year term specified in last year’s Wall Street reform bill.

 

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