The White House announced yesterday that Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren would be named assistant to the President and special advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury charged with setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In his statement to the press, the President noted of Warren:
She’s a native of Oklahoma. She’s a janitor’s daughter who has become one of the country’s fiercest advocates for the middle class. She has seen financial struggles and foreclosures affect her own family.Long before this crisis hit, she had written eloquently, passionately, forcefully, about the growing financial pressures on working families and the need to put in place stronger consumer protections. And three years ago she came up with an idea for a new independent agency that would have one simple overriding mission: standing up for consumers and middle-class families.
Naming Warren to lead effort, even though accomplished by a backdoor measure intended to sidestep the political battle of a full Senate confirmation which was surely to occur, should be viewed a victory for those who support government-regulated consumer protection. Although it hasn't been remarked upon by the press, setting up a bureau of consumer protection is another milestone for the Obama Administration. It culminates nearly a century of activism on the part of citizen consumers to establish a standalone office at the Federal level, the most recent effort of which was the failure to establish the Consumer Protection Agency in the 1970s.
Warren didn't make a comment beyond thanking the President and Secretary Geitner at the time of the announcement. She released a statement separately, which was distributed by the Alternet.