Elizabeth Warren: I Didn't Want To Be 'In A Pumpkin Shell'

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Elizabeth Warren
Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

President Obama recently appointed Elizabeth Warren as an "Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau."

But despite the long title, Warren won't be running the bureau, which was created by the finance-overhaul bill Congress passed earlier this year. The bill says the director must be confirmed by the Senate, and Warren would likely have faced a tough confirmation battle.

In an interview today with NPR's Robert Siegel, Warren says that if she had been nominated as director,

...I could not have worked on the agency for months and months, possibly over a year. ... So the question was, would the president nominate me [as director] and sort of put me in a pumpkin shell for a while, or could I get started to work immediately? And my own enthusiasm was, I'd really like to get to work right now.

As an example of what the new bureau might do, Warren cited making credit-card agreements simpler for people to understand: have two pages, that's the whole credit card agreement. The terms are clear and flat and easy to see so anyone can read them. So you could lay four credit cards in front of you and say, "Oh, that's the one that has the highest rate, that's the one that has the really scary provision that could hurt me." Now you get a market that starts to work again so consumers can make better choices.



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