U.S. Representative Barney Frank, who helped write the law that creates the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, requested a meeting with President Barack Obama as part of his push to have Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren named head of the new agency.
Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who leads the House Financial Services Committee, joined 41 other lawmakers in urging “no further delay” on nominating Warren, 61, as the bureau’s first leader in a letter to Obama dated yesterday.
“You have an opportunity to appoint to head this body a true visionary -- not the usual Washington practice of a careerist,” the House Democrats wrote in the letter released today by New York Representative Carolyn Maloney.
Warren, who leads the congressional panel overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, is on Obama’s short list of candidates. Her consumer advocacy and criticism of TARP recipients including Citigroup Inc. have led financial industry groups and congressional Republicans to question whether she would treat companies fairly as leader of the new agency.
Senator Christopher Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who leads the Senate Banking Committee, has said he’s not sure Warren could win the 60 votes needed to overcome Republican opposition. Warren would need support from at least one Republican, because Democrats control only 59 of the Senate’s 100 seats.
White House spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki didn’t have an immediate comment.