Geithner: Warren ‘absolutely’ qualified to head consumer agency

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Wednesday night praised Elizabeth Warren’s ability to head the new consumer protection agency, but was tight-lipped about whether or not the president will nominate her. 

Geithner acknowledged that Warren, the head of the panel tasked with overseeing the 2008 financial bailouts, has the skills to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). 

“And she is a — I think probably the most effective advocate of reform we have in the country on these questions,” she told PBS’s Charlie Rose in an interview. “So obviously, I think she would do a great job in that position.”

Liberals have pushed Warren as a potential nominee to head the agency created by the Wall Street reform law signed by President Obama on Wednesday. But Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) this week cast doubt on whether or not she could attract 60 votes to be confirmed by the Senate. 

Many on the left believe that her tenure as head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, which oversees the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), has earned her a reputation as a tough reformer who could help give CFPA added power. That sentiment has been echoed by some lawmakers. 

Geithner echoed Dodd’s concern, but said that the decision to appoint an agency chairman ultimately rests with the president. 

“Like anybody who has been a champion of reform, she’s earned her enemies over time, and there’s no doubt she would face criticism and opposition up there,” he said. “But that’s the price of entry to these jobs, because, again, if you’re for change and reform you’re going to earn some enemies.”