It’s over the top.
Republicans are practically foaming at the mouth in their crusade to block the nomination of Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In a House subcommittee meeting this week they fired a barrage of insults and completely baseless attacks at her.
It was so bad that Democratic subcommittee member John Yarmuth of Kentucky felt compelled to apologize to Warren. He pointed to what it’s really about, telling her:
“This hearing is all about impugning you because people are afraid of you and your ability to communicate in very clear terms the threats to our consumers and the threats to our constituents and possibly very, very effective ways to combat them.”
Yarmuth continued, “In one respect, I congratulate you for instilling such fear in the committee, on the majority side, and in some aspects, or segments, of the business community.”
Republicans have been battling the creation of the CFPB since President Obama proposed it.
ThinkProgress notes that “Warren in particular has emerged as the GOP’s primary enemy on the issue.” Why? “She is almost universally opposed by those in the financial industry because she has made a career out of alerting consumers to the ways in which financial companies were taking advantage of them.”
Warren has a long record as an expert and outspoken defender of consumers – in other words, a defender of the American public. As head of the Congressional Oversight Panel looking into the TARP bank bailouts in 2009, she even challenged the Obama administration for handing over bailout money to banks who then turned around and jacked up homeowners’ mortgage interest rates or slashed people’s credit lines.
Our columnist John Case put it this way last August, when this nasty battle was already raging on Capitol Hill:
“Why would Warren not be confirm-able? Because she told the truth about frauds perpetrated? Because she made the full dimensions of the crisis transparent? Because she favored strong penalties for thieves posing as bankers? Because Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, is a socialist and he supports her? Because the banking lobby wants no part of ANY real consumer protection? Yes.”
This simple, modest step to protect the public is just “too much for the lords of finance to stomach,” as columnist Sam Webb wrote here recently. He noted that the Wall Street lobbying machine has “gone into overdrive” to crush, or at least weaken, this and other financial reform measures.
Their Republican frontmen in the Senate are now trying to use a procedural maneuver to block the president from making a recess appointment of Elizabeth Warren while the Senate is on break next week.
“Bottom line,” Case said last summer, “you want credit or a mortgage that doesn’t turn into Frankenstein on you?? — call and write your senators and congressperson to confirm Eilzabeth Warren.”
Do it now!