WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have tapped Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to join the leadership ranks next year to serve as a bridge to liberal groups.

The freshman lawmaker will come in as a newly created role of strategic policy adviser to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. A former Harvard law professor, Warren has grown a vast following for being outspoken on progressive issues and may prove to be a core spokesperson for the party in clashes with the chamber's Republican majority next year.

While some bankers may hope that a leadership position will temper Warren's push for regulators to be tougher on the biggest institutions, comments by Democratic leaders suggested otherwise.

"I expect her to be Elizabeth Warren," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters on Thursday after a closed-door Senate Democratic Caucus meeting.

Warren, who has been an active member of the Banking Committee, joined the Senate in 2012.

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