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Al Franken Leads Campaign to Whip Support for Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren

Thirteen senators have signed on to support the nomination of Elizabeth Warren to head the government's new Consumer Financial Protection bureau, says a progressive grassroots organization. Now, with the support of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), the group is starting a campaign to get more senators to make the same pledge.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has collected more than 200,000 signatures on a petition asking President Obama to nominate Warren, a Harvard law professor, to the new bureau established by the recently-passed financial reforms. PCCC is now asking its supporters to urge their senators to publicly commit to backing Warren's nomination.

The liberal base considers Warren -- who helped develop the idea for the new bureau -- a strong advocate for consumers. Whether or not Mr. Obama is willing to tap Warren for the new role is seen as a test among liberals of whether the president is willing to stand up for citizens over corporate interests. Her nomination could help rally progressive voters ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, liberal activists say.

PCCC says that it has drafted the support of Franken, who calls himself a leading advocate for Warren's nomination, for its whipping campaign.

Senators that have signed on to support Warren so far, along with Franken, include Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Ted Kaufman (Del.), Tom Harkin (Iowa), Roland Burris (Ill.), Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Tom Udall (N.M.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Bernie Sanders (Vt.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.).

"Every Senator that signs puts more pressure on the White House to appoint Warren," PCCC wrote in a letter to its supporters.

The whipping campaign comes as questions remain as to whether Warren would receive enough support in the Senate to be confirmed. Some, like Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, have questioned her potential nomination. "I think there's a lot of controversy around Elizabeth Warren's services," McConnell said last month.

A Treasury official said Wednesday that Warren will play a role in consumer protection regardless of whether she is nominated to lead the new agency, Reuters reports.

"The President has made clear that if she is or isn't the nominee, she will have a central role to play," said Michael Barr, assistant secretary for financial institutions.

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