Elizabeth Warren warns against a Republican takeover of the Senate

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., warned that a Republican takeover of the Senate in the fall midterm elections would result in a chamber that operates like the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

"What are they on now, is this their fiftieth vote to repeal Obamacare? That's not how you run a country. We have real issues we need to deal with: minimum wage, student loan debt, equal pay for equal work, a little accountability for the big financial institutions," Warren said in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.

The Massachusetts senator, known as a populist among her supporters and a socialist among her critics, recently unveiled legislation that would allow the holders of student loans to refinance when interest rates change. That is standard procedure for home mortgage or car loans, but is not allowed for student loans.

Those with privately-held loans would refinance under the Federal Direct Loan program, which would restore the savings back into the economy.

On "Face the Nation," Warren said the average amount that young people are borrowing for an education has risen 71 percent in the last decade, leading to $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt nationwide.

"This is a crisis that now is not just affecting families that get hurt by it, it's affecting the whole economy," she said. "I don't think the U.S. government should be making tens of billions of dollars in profits off the backs of our students, which is what the current student loan system is doing. And I think most Americans agree with me on that."

Warren recently released a book, "A Fighting Chance," that is critical of the status quo in Washington.

"Washington works for anyone who can hire an army of lobbyists and lawyers. It just doesn't work for regular families," she said. "They've got the concentration of money and power that makes sure that every rule works for those who are rich. What we have on the other side, is we've only got two things. We've got our voices and we've got our votes. And we've got to make sure we get heard. That's the only way we ever get a level playing field."

But Warren denied yet again that the book - the tenth she has written - is a first step of a presidential bid, as it was for then-Sen. Barack Obama.

"I am not running for president, but let me say something about that book, because it's important," she said. "This book is about my life's work. I have written all of those books about what's happening to America's middle class and I have watched as America's middle class just gets hammered one more time and one more time and one more time. I have watched as Washington tilts more and more and more toward the rich and the powerful. I wrote this book because I'm out there trying to make sure that every kid gets a fighting chance."

She also said that it was too early to say whether she would endorse former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016 if she runs. There are too many other issues on the table, Warren said, including student loans and minimum wage.

"We're not there yet," she said of an endorsement. "We have an election coming up in 2014 where those issues are going to be right on the table. People will have voted and the voters will have a chance to look at how the Senate voted."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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