While members of the Senate Banking Committee debate proposals to fix the nation's broken financial system and ineffective approach to protecting consumers, Elizabeth Warren has one message: Pass a strong bill or nothing at all.
"My first choice is a strong consumer agency," the Harvard Law professor and federal bailout watchdog said in an interview with the Huffington Post. "My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor."
There's been a steady leak of Senate proposals to fix the dysfunctional way federal regulators protect consumers from abusive lenders. One was an independent unit housed within the Treasury Department; another was a new entity, housed in the Federal Reserve, with little independence or power.
The Senate shouldn't waste its time, asserts Warren, explaining that current proposals fail to address some of her key priorities such as arming the proposed agency with independent rule-making authority, without interference by bank regulators.
"My 99th choice is some mouthful of mush that doesn't get the job done," Warren said.
The Fed proposal, attributed to Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), was leaked earlier this week. Corker is working with Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) on Dodd's update to his November bill to reform the nation's financial system.
Warren spent Tuesday on the phone with reform groups, members of Congress and administration officials, rallying support for a new independent agency tasked solely with protecting consumers. Many of them were skeptical that Corker is willing to agree to let the entity have real independence, an aide to Warren said.
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