Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., is grasping at straws to block Elizabeth Warren’s nomination as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He’s making a fool of himself, and hurting his party’s political prospects for November.
Dodd’s latest foray into bank lobby dirty work came today in a series of inflammatory comments to reporters. Dodd made the preposterous claim that if Obama nominated Warren to the CFPB, Congress would retaliate by de-funding the agency. Here’s Dodd, as reported by HuffPost’s Ryan Grim:
“This is a big job, an important job, and it needs to be — you’ve got to build the support for that institutionally or the next Congress – and none of us know what the outcome’s going to be politically — you could gut this before it even gets off the ground. If you don’t have someone running it early on, it jeopardizes the existence of the consumer protection bureau,” he said. Asked how Congress would gut it, he said: “Money. Take away the money. That’s how you always do it.”
This is just absurd. The CFPB is funded through the Federal Reserve, not Congressional appropriations. Dodd knows this. He was a top negotiator on the CFPB and wrote much of the bill. The only way Congress could actually de-fund the agency would be to pass a new law and get President Barack Obama to sign it. Obama would never sign a bill gutting the CFPB—he fought hard to get it included in the Wall Street reform bill—and Congress would never be able to get a two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. Defunding the CFPA is politically impossible, and will remain politically impossible regardless of what happens in November.
Speaking of November, Dodd’s recent shenanigans are creating political problems for Democrats. His transparent pandering to the bank lobby on the Warren nomination makes his entire party look bad, and has tainted the public perception of the Wall Street reform bill. It almost looks like an intentional act of political sabotage. If Dodd’s colleagues care about getting re-elected, they should convince him to shut his mouth.
It’s also truly astonishing for an outgoing Senator to be threatening a President of his own party through the press like this. Warren is clearly the best candidate to head the CFPB. Dodd’s opposition doesn’t make him look reasonable or moderate, it makes him look like he’s working for the Wall Street executives who drove the economy off a cliff. You’d think he could hold off on this kind of behavior until he’s officially out of office.