White House Will Not Name Elizabeth Warren Director Of Consumer Agency

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WASHINGTON – President Obama is expected to finally nominate a director of the fledgling Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week but it won’t be controversial figure Elizabeth Warren, according to several sources.

The President has instead to nominate Richard Cordray, the former attorney general of Ohio, to head the new agency. Cordray came to national attention for his aggressive investigations of mortgage-foreclosure practices while he was attorney general. 

The appointment of Warren, who has built a reputation as a consumer advocate by criticizing big banks, payday lenders, check cashers and others in the financial services sectors, has been ardently opposed by congressional Republicans since she was appointed last year as special advisor to the Treasury Department to organize the agency. Warren built up the enmity of the big banks and their allies in the GOP over years of criticism, especially during a 10-year battle over bankruptcy reform during which she fought against the banks and credit unions.

Still, it is not clear whether any candidate will receive the necessary support to direct the newborn consumer bureau, which Republicans – who hold the trump card for Senate confirmation – have opposed since it was included in last year’s Wall Street reform bill. In fact, 44 Republican senators – enough to block Senate confirmation – have pledged to block any nomination to head the agency until Congress agrees to change the structure of the bureau to be headed by a multi-person board, instead of a single director.

In fact, Republican leaders indicated yesterday they will not vote to confirm Codray either. "Until President Obama addresses our concerns by supporting a few reasonable structural changes, we will not confirm anyone to lead it," Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who is the ranking member on the Banking Committee, said Sunday in a written statement. "No accountability, no confirmation."

Despite being left out in the cold, Warren’s imprint will be lasting on the new agency – which was her idea to begin with. She handpicked its senior staff, campaigned to sell the agency to industry groups and bore the brunt of criticism against it.

 

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