Elizabeth Warren could lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without ever having to face a Senate confirmation hearing.
The Harvard Law professor and bailout watchdog, beloved by the left and reviled by big banks, is one of three candidates the White House identified Friday as potential picks to lead the new consumer agency. Created as part of the financial reform bill President Barack Obama is expected to sign into law on Wednesday, the agency is supposed to protect borrowers from predatory lenders and centralize the federal government's role when it comes to extending credit to consumers. Warren conceived of the agency in 2007 and since last year has served as the public face of the campaign to enact it into law.
But some have speculated Warren may face an uphill battle to become its inaugural chief. Lenders fear her -- particularly given her strong advocacy on behalf of the debt-strapped middle class -- and are furiously fighting her potential nomination as she's viewed as the most consumer-friendly of the candidates. Their friends in the Senate may take up their cause.
Proponents and critics agree that the first director will have a lasting impact on the agency, from the hiring of staff to the general attitude it takes towards consumer protection. Some are expected to prepare a Supreme Court-style campaign when Obama names his nominee.
During a radio interview Monday, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd said there's a "serious question" over whether she, as Obama's nominee, could be confirmed by the Senate.
"We are confident she is confirmable," White House spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said.
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