Fight Over First Head Of Consumer Bureau Heats Up

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Elizabeth Warren on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 21. i i

Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law professor who heads the House Oversight Committee on the Troubled Assets Relief Program, is being considered to lead the the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Elizabeth Warren on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 21.

Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law professor who heads the House Oversight Committee on the Troubled Assets Relief Program, is being considered to lead the the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

President Obama signed Wednesday the sweeping financial overhaul bill into law, but the controversy over the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau continues. The issue: Who will lead it?

The big banks and other business interests fought hard, but failed to kill the new consumer bureau. They now face the reality of the strongest government consumer advocate in history.

President Obama will appoint the new director and among the people he is considering it Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law professor who heads the House Oversight Committee on the Troubled Assets Relief Program, created to save the nation's biggest banks during the economic crisis.

Warren was also a vigorous advocate for a new consumer bureau and a vocal critic of the banks.

Edward Yingling, head of the American Bankers Association, says there's "tremendous concern" in the industry over the prospect of Warren becoming the bureau's first director.

Consumer advocates have just the opposite view, however.

"Elizabeth Warren is one of the great experts in the country on the economics of middle class families and supporting them and protecting them" said Heather Booth, head of Americans for Financial Reform. "There's no one who has a background with the depth on the issues and the willingness to stand up to those biggest banks."

Warren also has close ties with members of the White House inner circle. But Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) has suggested Warren might have trouble being confirmed by the Senate.

Obama is expected to make his choice soon.

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