Late Wednesday afternoon, news leaked that the White House finally made a decision on the appointment of Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor-turned super regulator. And Warren got her wish. Sort of.
After the official announcement is made — expected to be midday Friday — her title will be assistant to the president and special advisor to the Treasury secretary. In that position, Warren will play a key role in setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) — the regulating machine created in the Frank-Dodd financial reform bill that will oversee any firm that offers credit to consumers.
The important thing here, though, is that with this appointment, Warren would essentially have the same power she would have as director of the CFPB. But by taking this route, Warren will escape Senate confirmation — something that would likely turn very ugly given her opposition from the right.
The move by the Obama administration comes on the heels of increased speculation within the Beltway regarding the future of Ms. Warren. Recently, it was reported that Warren cancelled her plans to return to classes this fall at Harvard.
Before that, she was seen meeting with key officials in the Obama administration – most notably Valerie Jarrett.
In other words, rumors have been flying for weeks.
But Warren’s tenure will not pass without criticism. As The Daily Caller previously reported, Warren’s scholarly credentials have been called into question on numerous occasions and banking insiders worry she does not understand the nuances of banking in small-town America.
Not only that, some former colleagues say Warren can be difficult to work with.
But news of the new position and the circumvention of Senate confirmation has been met with mixed reviews.
For one, David Hirschmann, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, said, “By not allowing Ms. Warren’s nominations to be considered through the regular order of the full Senate confirmation process, the administration has circumvented one of the very few checks on a big agency that already has been given an unprecedented concentration of regulatory powers.”
While Warren’s new position does come with considerable power, two things she won’t be able to do is sit on the Financial Stability Oversight Council or the board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. — two roles she would have had as director of CFPB.
The appointment, however, does not rule out the possibility that Obama will eventually nominate Warren to the director position. So to some degree, Beltway insiders and the financial community continue to wonder where Elizabeth Warren will ultimately end up.