President Obama said on Friday that an announcement of a nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is coming "soon."
At a news conference, Obama praised the top contender for the CFPB director position, Elizabeth Warren.
"The idea for this agency was Elizabeth Warren's," Obama said. "She's a dear friend of mine. She's someone I've known since law school, and I have been in conversations with her. She is a tremendous advocate for this idea. It's only been a couple of months, and this is a big task standing up this entire agency so I'll have an announcement soon about how we are going to move forward."
For months, consumer advocates have campaigned hard for a Warren nomination to a body she has called for since 2007. The Dodd-Frank law, which was passed in July, created the CFPB; speculation has swirled on when an announcement would be made.
But concerns over Warren's ability to get confirmed in the Senate has held up a decision. Her nomination would require 60 votes, and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd has said he has concerns overcoming that hurdle. Obama did not address her ability to get the votes but noted any nominee has a tough fight.
"I am concerned about all Senate confirmations these days," Obama said. "I've got people who've been waiting for six months to get confirmed who no one has an official objection to and who were voted out of committee unanimously and I can't get a vote on them. And it's very hard when you have a determined minority in the Senate who insist on a 60-vote filibuster on every single person we are trying to confirm."
Speculation over Warren's chances flared when she canceled her classes at Harvard University and she met with Obama this week. It was her second White House meeting regarding the CFPB position in the last few months.
This story has been reprinted with permission from American Banker.
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