Elizabeth Warren to get a role in consumer agency

By Jennifer Liberto, senior writer


WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) -- President Obama plans to name Elizabeth Warren as a presidential assistant and special adviser to the Treasury Secretary this week to help lay the groundwork for the new consumer financial protection bureau, sources tell CNN.

The move would allow the president to lean on Warren to help set up the new consumer agency while bypassing a potentially difficult Senate confirmation battle that could occur if she were formally named to run it.

Warren, 61, is a Harvard University law professor who came up with the original idea for the consumer financial protection agency, which is why she has long been considered a leading candidate to run the new regulatory bureau.

The Treasury Department is the agency charged with creating the new consumer agency to be housed inside the Federal Reserve, as a part of the Wall Street reform law passed over the summer.

Warren would report directly to the president and the Treasury Secretary, a senior administration official and a Democratic official told CNN.

That could be an interesting dynamic, as Warren has penned reports critical of Treasury's handling of bailout programs in her current job as chair of a watchdog group that monitors spending at the federal government's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Warren would not have been willing to accept the job had she not had assurances from the White House that it would be robust with autonomy, a source close to Warren said.

Reports earlier this week that the White House was considering naming her as the interim director of the agency spurred pushback among some lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The latest objection came from Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., on Wednesday. Many senators do not want the White House to circumvent a confirmation process.

The new consumer bureau will be charged with regulating mortgages and credit cards with an eye toward helping consumers. And the question of who will ultimately be the agency's first director remains unanswered.

Warren could still be appointed. "This (appointment) does not take the place of nominating a director of the CFPB and Warren will participate in the selection process," the senior Democratic official told CNN.

Other candidates include Michael Barr, Assistant Treasury Secretary for Financial Institutions, as well as Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gene Kimmelman.

"Even though it may disappoint the so-called left, there may be others who can do this job effectively," said Reid Cramer, director of asset building at the New America Foundation, a left-leaning think tank "Michael Barr, for example, has been working the inside game effectively while Warren has been the public face."

-- CNN's Jessica Yellin, Dana Bash and Ed Henry contributed to this report. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play

Search for Jobs

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,826.30 -279.47 -1.54%
Nasdaq 4,931.82 -75.98 -1.52%
S&P 500 2,081.18 -23.81 -1.13%
Treasuries 1.85 -0.03 -1.49%
Data as of 5:38am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.56 -0.23 -1.46%
General Electric Co 27.25 -0.03 -0.11%
Apple Inc 124.75 -1.42 -1.13%
Comcast Corp 58.42 -1.25 -2.09%
Microsoft Corp 41.62 -0.54 -1.29%
Data as of Apr 17
Sponsors

Sections

Lucas will finance 100% of the project at Grady Ranch and wants Marin County teachers and police officers to be able to live there. More

It's the second big layoff at Schlumberger this year. The oil services company cut 9,000 workers in January. More

The Smokio e-cigarette pairs with an app on your phone to keep track of how much you smoke, and how much money you've saved by not buying tobacco cigarettes. More

The home of some of the most iconic toys has teamed up with a crowdsourcing platform for inventors to find the next great toys. More