Elizabeth Warren seen securing Senate banking spot: aides

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 04, 2012 5:28 PM
Elizabeth Warren seen securing Senate banking spot: aides

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren is expected to secure a seat on the Senate Banking Committee, two congressional aides said on Tuesday, a move that would give the Wall Street critic a powerful platform from which to oversee financial firms.

"We see her as an effective advocate for consumers," said one senior Democratic aide, in explaining the interest in putting Warren on the panel.

The aide added that a final decision will not be made until the new Congress convenes next month.

Warren, a Democrat and Harvard law professor, is credited as the prime architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial oversight law.

Bankers and other financial market players have criticized Warren as a rabid consumer advocate who does not fully understand the financial system.

Warren helped set up the new consumer agency, but President Barack Obama did not nominate her to head the regulator amid fierce opposition in the Senate.

Now, with her win over incumbent Republican Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, Warren has an influential position to further her campaign to keep Wall Street in check.

The bipartisan Senate Banking Committee can influence policy decisions through its oversight of financial services, international trade, insurance, housing, securities and economic issues.

Warren, who has called for breaking up the big banks, could move to block amendments to Dodd-Frank aimed at blunting the full impact of costly reforms.

She would also be able to forcefully push for regulators to use all the powers available to them to write strict rules when interpreting financial laws.

A representative for Warren did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Thomas Ferraro; Writing by Karey Wutkowski and Tim Dobbyn)