President Obama may not be willing to endure the ideological battle that would result from nominating Elizabeth Warren to head the new consumer protection agency, a top Democrat said Monday.
Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.), who co-authored the law creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said that if she were nominated, Warren might not be confirmed to head the agency. While Frank argued that's a fight worth having, he cautioned that the president might disagree.
Frank's comments could add pressure on the administration to nominate Warren, a consumer advocate and Harvard Law School professor who is currently serving as a White House adviser.
Warren is a favorite of liberal lawmakers and activists, who say she would hold financial institutions accountable, and currently works as a special adviser helping to establish the new agency. The White House has not yet selected a nominee to permanently lead the CFPB, and some lawmakers — like Frank — are still pushing for Warren.
"She's an enormously popular, very thoughtful woman," Frank said.
Other Democrats in Congress have said nominating Warren would be unwise because she wouldn't be able to gather enough support in the Senate to be confirmed. Former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who co-authored the financial reform bill with Frank, made that argument last summer.
Frank said it's possible she could win confirmation.
"The Republican Party is united against healthcare, united against the environment. They are not united against financial reform," he said. "The Tea Party people did not send people to Washington to defend derivatives.
"I think the fight over Elizabeth Warren would be worth having and I'm not sure how all the Republican senators would vote."