Sept. 16, 2010— -- Elizabeth Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor, will be named special advisor to the President. Her role will be to oversee the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, reporting directly to the President and the Treasury Secretary.
Warren has chaired the Congressional panel overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Wall Street bailout effort. The Wall Street reform bill that became law in July does create a special position to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But as Politico's Marty Kady points out, in a divided Congress, so close to the election, it will be very difficult to fill this position.
"Apparently you can just create jobs out of thin air when you're the president," says Kady. "There is an official position as head of the Consumer Financial Agency, but that is not apparently what the President is filling because he knew he couldn't get his first pick confirmed."
Elizabeth Warren has been playing a very active role in the economy for the past two years. She proposed what is now the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a remedy to address the housing and financial meltdown, with the goal of protecting consumers from corporate America and Wall Street.
"She really has sort of become the voice of the left on this subject of financial regulation, cracking down on Wall Street and carrying out the financial reform bill which passed mostly on a partisan basis earlier this year."
Warren, however, is a very contentious figure. Her appointment as a special advisor allows President Obama to bypass the Senate confirmation process.
"She's so controversial on the right and with corporate America and Wall Street that she could not get through a divided Senate, especially this close to an election," says Kady. "She doesn't even have the endorsement of Chris Dodd, the banking chairman."
The Obama administration is anxious to have the agency's top position filled as soon as possible, Kady acknowledges. "There's no way Republicans are going to let her come up for a vote, much less get confirmed," he said.
"They'll actually have to find someone who's confirmable," says Kady. "If she's not confirmable in a Senate with 59 Democrats, I can't imagine that she's going to be confirmable in a Senate with 50, 51, 52... whatever the Democrats have next year, if they even hold on to the majority."
So how will Obama's new appointment play out politically during the campaign season? Watch today's Conversation to get Politico's Marty Kady's take.