WASHINGTON — A group of 89 House Democrats has signed a letter urging President Obama to appoint Elizabeth Warren director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who led the effort to collect signatures, said at a press conference Thursday that Warren has shown her "unique skills" by traveling across the country and meeting with a range of people that would be affected by the new bureau.

"She's demonstrated that a regulator must reach out, listen to all sides and decide issues in the public interest," Maloney said. "It's time for the President to appoint her to the director's job — regardless of her misguided Senate opponents."

It isn't just about Warren, said Rep. Brad Miller of North Carolina. The refusal of Senate Republicans to consider any nominee is an abuse of their confirmation powers, he said.

"They had to choose between their constitutional duties and the demands of the financial industry," Miller said. "Their constitutional duties never had a chance."

The lawmakers, including Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, also accepted more than 250,000 signatures, collected by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, on petitions supporting Warren's nomination.

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