Friday, May 20, 2011

Rep. Maloney Presses for Recess Appointment of Elizabeth Warren - Wall Street Journal

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Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D., N.Y.) hasn’t been shy about wanting White House adviser Elizabeth Warren to head the new consumer watchdog agency.

And now Ms. Maloney is urging her colleagues to speak up on the issue, too.
Ms. Maloney sent a “dear colleague” letter Wednesday to her fellow lawmakers, urging them to sign on to a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to appoint Ms. Warren, a Harvard Law professor, to the director post during one of Congress’s upcoming recesses.
“Since you appointed Professor Warren to ‘stand up’ the bureau, she has laid the foundation as a strong advocate for consumers—something that seems to strike fear among those who are opposed to reform,” says the letter that Ms. Maloney wants her fellow lawmakers to sign. “We can think of no better person to be the first director of this incredibly important consumer financial protection regulator.”
Recess appointments are controversial because the president sidesteps the Senate’s authority to vet and approve nominees to key federal posts.
But nearly all of the Senate’s Republicans have vowed to block any nominee for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s director position, making a recess appointment much more likely. The Republicans want changes in the agency’s governance structure and funding stream before they sign off on any nominee.
But the Obama administration has been cool to the proposed changes, which would scale back the agency’s independence. Meanwhile, the agency needs a director in place by its fast-approaching July 21 launch in order to gain its full powers to fight fraudulent financial practices.
“Since Republican senators have said that no one is acceptable unless the law is weakened, we would urge you to nominate Professor Warren as the CFPB’s first director anyway,” reads Ms. Maloney’s letter.