Obama weighs interim appointment for consumer agency

* Several options for Warren’s role in consumer agency

* White House says president to say more about agency soon

By Caren Bohan

WASHINGTON, Sept 13 (BestGrowthStock) – The Obama administration is
weighing the appointment of Elizabeth Warren as the temporary
director of a newly created U.S. consumer financial regulator,
according to sources familiar with the discussions.

Naming Warren as the interim head of the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau is an option available to President Barack
Obama if he wants to avoid what would be a tough fight for her
confirmation.

Warren is an outspoken consumer advocate whose appointment
many on Wall Street oppose.

The sources said, however, that the option of naming her
temporarily was only one scenario under consideration and was
not necessarily Obama’s preferred option.

Warren, 61, is a Harvard law professor and bankruptcy
expert who has served as chairwoman of the Congressional
Oversight Panel, a watchdog for the U.S. financial bailout
program.

The White House has described Warren as a leading candidate
to head the agency, which will oversee an array of products
from mortgages to credit cards and was a key component of
Obama’s financial reform enacted in July.

The reform legislation, which overhauled U.S. financial
regulation, gives Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner the
authority to set up the consumer agency, including naming an
acting director, if he chooses.

Last week Obama praised Warren as a “dear friend,” whom he
has known since law school, and said he had been “in
conversations with her.” He highlighted her role in conceiving
the agency — a hint that he was leaning strongly toward
selecting her for the post.

Another option available to Obama would include giving her
a “recess appointment” while the Senate is out of session. This
would also allow her to serve on a temporary basis.

A third option would be to go through the Senate
confirmation process, an alternative that would spark a battle
with Republicans, who are likely to try to paint her as
an ideologue whose zeal for regulation would hurt the
competitiveness of the U.S. financial industry.

The White House may not want to run from such a fight. It
would counter by depicting Republicans as favoring the
interests of Wall Street over the middle class, an argument
officials believe could play well politically for Democrats
ahead of the Nov. 2 elections.

An announcement about the post could come as early as this
week.

“The president will have more to say about the agency and
its mission soon,” a White House spokeswoman said on Monday.
“Elizabeth Warren has been a stalwart voice for American
consumers and families and she was the architect of the idea
that became the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”
(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Dave Clarke and David
Lawder; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Obama weighs interim appointment for consumer agency