Liberal group to Obama: Pick Elizabeth Warren or else

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The warning comes hours after the AFL-CIO also called for Warren to be named director, skirting the Senate confirmation process via recess appointment if need be. In an email to supporters, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said there is "only one candidate who is uniquely qualified and equipped to head this new agency: Elizabeth Warren."

The push also comes after media reports indicated the White House was considering naming one of Warren's chief lieutenants, Raj Date, to be the CFPB's first director.

Date currently serves as the associate director of research, markets and regulations at the CFPB, but has experience in the private banking sector, working for Capital One and Deutsche Bank. A common refrain of Warren critics has been that, as a career academic, she would lack the insight into the private sector as head of the CFPB, and could push burdensome or costly regulations on the industry.

But liberals have rallied around longtime favorite Warren in recent weeks, and Thursday's announcement of a "Warren test" raises the stakes even higher.

"Every consumer activist, every informed citizen, an army of commentators, bloggers, organizers and opinion leaders will be simply outraged if Elizabeth Warren is not nominated to head the bureau that she conceived, championed and constructed," Borosage said. "The Warren test cannot be ducked."

The fight over who will head the CFPB when it begins work in July ramped up after nearly every Senate Republican announced they would block any nominee to head the bureau unless changes were made to curb its power.

The move led many liberal groups to push hard for a Warren recess appointment, arguing that the GOP blockade gives the president the freedom to name whomever he wants to the spot.

But thus far, Republicans have also attempted to deprive the president of recesses in which to make appointments. When the Senate broke for a week over the Memorial Day holiday, the chamber still held three pro-forma sessions in an effort to prevent any recess appointments.


—This post updated at 1:54 pm.

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