Warren tapped for Senate Banking panel

Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), one of the harshest critics of the financial sector, is being tapped to serve on the Senate Banking Committee.

The Harvard law professor is expected to join Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on the committee in the next Congress, according to a Democratic Senate aide.

The decision is pending final approval from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), but would mean that Warren will play a lead role in overseeing the financial firms that have sparred with her for years over consumer protections and regulations.

Warren originally came to Washington as head of the government's official bailout watchdog, and later served as President Obama's architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was created by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

She butted heads with congressional Republicans as an adviser to the CFPB, and Obama ultimately selected one of her top deputies, Richard Cordray, to serve as its first director. Warren was recruited by Democrats to run for the Senate from Massachusetts, where she defeated Sen. Scott Brown (R) last month.

Warren and Manchin would fill two seats definitely opening up on the Banking panel thanks to a pair of retirements, but more positions could become available if other committee members decide to jump to another panel. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told The Hill on Tuesday that he was also interested in a spot on the Banking Committee.

“Banking’s a very important industry in my state, and it is a committee I requested,” he said. “But Leader Reid, ultimately, along with committee chairs, makes those decisions.”

Manchin was noncommittal about his future moves Tuesday afternoon, saying that decision was up to Senate leadership.

“I’d like to serve anywhere I can; I’d like to help,” he said. “That’s up to Majority Leader Reid.”

The banking industry was reportedly pushing back on attempts to place Warren on the financial panel, but Richard Hunt, president and CEO of the Consumer Bankers Association, disputed the notion.

"It's total BS, whoever is saying that," he said. "I, for one, would welcome her on the Senate Banking Committee.

"I welcome her to be inside the tent rather than outside the tent, throwing bombs," he added.

Warren's campaign declined to comment.

—This post was updated at 11:19 a.m. and 4:50 p.m.