Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Barney Frank (D-MA) have sent are circulating a new letter to the President, requesting a personal meeting with him about nominating Elizabeth Warren as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. This is an escalation of the earlier action spearheaded by Maloney, which resulted in 63 members of the House and 12 Senators coming out in support of Warren’s nomination.

“I just think that the success of the agency depends on the strength at the top,” Maloney told FDL News before releasing the letter. She cited the support for the initial letter, which not only brought 75 members of Congress on board, but unleashed a slew of positive editorials from newspapers and opinion leaders around the country. By contrast, “the pushback has not been all that visible… kind of quiet,” Maloney said.

The Treasury Department and the President himself have had nothing but praise for Warren, a Harvard professor and head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, charged with monitoring TARP. But while she is recognized for inventing the concept of a consumer financial protection agency, and lauded for her work in bringing it into being, Administration officials have stopped short of a full endorsement, though she is on the short list for the position. Others on the list include Treasury Department official Michael Barr.

In the letter, available below, Maloney and Frank particularly note the words of Charles Fried, the former Solicitor General in the Reagan Administration, who wrote in the Boston Globe that the President should give Warren a recess appointment, because “restoring faith in the honesty of the system of markets and credit” is so important to the future of the economy. They quote an interview Fried granted The New Republic, where he took aim at the argument some of her detractors have been making, that she’s not experienced enough to run a federal agency:

And he accused critics focusing on her relative lack of managerial experience of acting ‘in bad faith.’ ‘That’s not a debate. That is just crass,’ Fried said. ‘People who talk about the lack of experience—that’s junk. … They’re afraid of her because she actually believes in [what she’s doing].’ He went on to note that many professors have successfully led large organizations because ‘they believed in their mission. They were smart.’”

The New Republic also noted that, “As for Warren’s ideology, Fried said she and the new consumer protection agency stand for principles that anyone, liberal or conservative, should support. ‘I support capitalism, and I don’t like thieves. And the people who got us into this mess are thieves, or there are a lot of thieves among them,’ he said. ‘To be sympathetic to people who lie and cheat and take advantage of people is not to be against capitalism.””

Calling Warren a “true visionary” and not a “careerist,” Maloney and Frank “respectfully request a meeting” with the President to discuss the nomination.

The letter has so far been co-signed by 14 other House Democrats, including Earl Blumenauer, Lois Capps, Judy Chu, Ted Deutch, Keith Ellison, Luis Gutierrez, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mary Jo Kilroy, Rush Holt, Jerrold Nadler, Charlie Rangel, Nikki Tsongas, Henry Waxman and David Wu. (UPDATE: Maloney and Frank will continue to seek other co-signers during next week’s emergency session of the House, when they will work on the state fiscal aid bill.)

This follows several other actions aimed at getting Warren the nomination. Sen. Al Franken has teamed with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee to whip members of Congress on Warren, and just today, Sen. Jeff Merkley released a video detailing why Warren would be the right person for the job.

The letter is available on the flip.


President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We write to follow-up on previous letters from 63 House members and 12 Senators, dated July 22, 2010, supporting Professor Elizabeth Warren as Director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We write to urge no further delay in her nomination.

Just this week, 141 leading university professors from around the country wrote to you expressing their support for Professor Warren arguing that her scholarly expertise, “along with her work as Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP, has given Professor Warren a broad, and perhaps unique, perspective on how effective consumer protection is essential for the safety and soundness of the financial system and the health of the American economy.”

The New Republic interviewed Charles Fried, former Solicitor General under President Reagan, who “praised Warren for her commitment to the issues that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would handle. After all, the bureau was her brainchild. And he accused critics focusing on her relative lack of managerial experience of acting ‘in bad faith.’ ‘That’s not a debate. That is just crass,’ Fried said. ‘People who talk about the lack of experience—that’s junk. … They’re afraid of her because she actually believes in [what she’s doing].’ He went on to note that many professors have successfully led large organizations because ‘they believed in their mission. They were smart.’”

The New Republic also noted that, “As for Warren’s ideology, Fried said she and the new consumer protection agency stand for principles that anyone, liberal or conservative, should support. ‘I support capitalism, and I don’t like thieves. And the people who got us into this mess are thieves, or there are a lot of thieves among them,’ he said. ‘To be sympathetic to people who lie and cheat and take advantage of people is not to be against capitalism.””

These strong statements of support noted above from across the political spectrum reinforce the support she will have in a confirmation vote. We already know that Ms. Warren’s work as head of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the past two years, which was created in the TARP legislation and which she built from scratch to ensure appropriate TARP oversight, has earned her respect on both sides of the aisle. And we know she understands the fundamental truth about regulation: “Regulations help support markets to make them work.”

You have an opportunity to appoint to head this body a true visionary — not the usual Washington practice of a careerist. You have an opportunity to appoint to this body the single best-qualified choice.

We urge no further delay in nominating Ms. Warren and would respectfully request a meeting with you to discuss this matter.

Sincerely,

CAROLYN B. MALONEY
Member of Congress

BARNEY FRANK
Member of Congress