Could Elizabeth Warren end up leading consumer protection bureau?

Panel Chair Elizabeth Warren listens during a hearing before the Congressional Oversight Panel that was created to oversee the expenditure of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) March 4, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Getty Images/Alex Wong

Panel Chair Elizabeth Warren
Panel Chair Elizabeth Warren listens during a hearing before the Congressional Oversight Panel that was created to oversee the expenditure of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) March 4, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Getty Images/Alex Wong

President Obama may end up nominating Elizabeth Warren, a Wall Street critic championed by the left, as the chief of his new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau simply because no one else will take the job, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The White House has reportedly spoken with several potential potential candidates about the new position, only to have them turn down the job in deference to Warren, who is now spearheading the agency's creation. Both the White House and Warren declined to comment to the Journal on the situation.

The administration, the Journal reports, has reached out to possible candidates including Michigan's former Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, former Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) and the attorneys general from Iowa, Illinois and Massachusetts. Other possible nominees reportedly include Democratic former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) and Federal Reserve Board member Sarah Bloom Raskin.

Pointing to other reports that she's under consideration for the job, Granholm said on Facebook recently, " I have declined to be considered for this post... I think nominating Elizabeth Warren is a fight worth waging."

Liberals have urged the president to nominate Warren, calling her a proven, strong advocate for consumer protections. But last fall, when the administration tapped Warren to create the agency, White House officials told CBS News that Mr. Obama was unlikely to nominate Warren to lead the agency because of the fierce opposition she faced from Republicans and their Wall Street backers.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was established under the Wall Street reform legislation Congress passed last year, and the new chief must be confirmed by the Senate. Given the GOP's opposition to Warren and reservations with the CFPB in general, as well as the Democrats' weak majority, her confirmation could indeed be difficult.

The CFPB is supposed to start its operations -- and thus must have a director in place -- by July 21. The agency is tasked with writing some of the new rules dictated by the Wall Street reform legislation, as well as supervising and enforcing the rules that guide non-bank financial firms, such as payday lenders.

Even before the CFPB is up and running, Republicans are working to weaken the agency and to dismantle parts of the overall Wall Street reform legislation. In February, for instance, House Republicans passed a spending measure (which died in the Senate) that limited funding for the CFPB to $80 million for the rest of the fiscal year -- about half of what the bureau requested.

House Financial Services Chairman Spencer Bachus, who's leading efforts to alter the new financial reforms, has said the CFPB should be run by a five-member commission rather than a single director.

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