Here's What's Happening In The Big Battle To Keep Elizabeth Warren Off The Senate Banking Committee

Harry Reid Elizabeth Warren

Photo: AP Photo

We know that Wall Street would rather not have consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren sitting on the Senate Banking Committee, but right now it looks like if she wants it, she can have it.Here’s why (it’s very simple).

Ultimately, the decision of who sits on what committee is left up to Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Majority leader. He takes into consideration things like seniority and Senators’ talents, backgrounds and preferences. But in the end, the choice is his.

Now let’s look at the committee. There are two seats opening up: Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Daniel Akaka (D-HI). New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has already said she’s not taking one of them.

The other person being considered is Delaware Senator Chris Coons, and he isn’t really talking about the situation.

So there’s space. There’s also pressure … on Reid.

Rhode Island Senator and Banking Committee member Jack Reed is said to be supporting Warren for the seat.

And there’s also this comment Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson made on Tuesday:

“I have a good working relationship with Elizabeth Warren and I would welcome her to the Committee if that’s what she wishes. Her expertise and knowledge would be an asset to the Committee as we continue working to protect consumers and maintain financial stability.”

Politicians aside, the Democratic constituency seems into giving Warren a seat on Banking as well. News site Daily Kos has a petition going to get Reid to put her on the committee. It has 80,872 signatures on it so far. 

Politico’s Ben White reported that Wall Street’s lobbyists are on the case, trying to pressure Reid to put Warren on another committee (like Judiciary or Finance).

The question is, how much influence do they have over a man who, two years ago, made fun of the GOP for “making love to Wall Street”? (from CBS):

“They won’t let us move on any amendments,” he said, adding that “It’s obvious that they do not want to put in decent restrictions” on the financial industry.

Reid suggested the GOP is stalling because “they are having difficulty determining how they’re going to continue making love to Wall Street” by opposing regulation.

Ultimately, if Warren wants the seat, it looks like Reid is absolutely in the position to give it to her.

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