Last week, we learned something new about Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. She doesn’t like Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Like, really doesn’t like him.
This stands to reason. Warren is a liberal’s liberal, and Pence is a conservative’s conservative who has described himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.” But what specifically upsets Warren about Pence? Going by her tweets in the wake of the Pence announcement, it’s his stance on social issues.
But there’s something else that might just outweigh these things in determining Warren’s strong anti-Pence stance—though it’s more complicated for her to explain and message than “he’s pro-life and anti-gay,” which is really easy to cover off in 140 characters.
Pence’s selection, it turns out, might further elevate the issue of financial sector regulation and what’s wrong with the Obama administration’s approach within the Trump-headed, and therefore more financial sector-skeptical Republican Party, and thereby make reining in entities like Warren’s brainchild, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a little more of a policy priority.
As Politico (subscription-only) notes:
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s potential selection as Donald Trump’s running mate could provide a big boost to another prominent Republican and his ambitious plan to overhaul the nation’s financial system: Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).
Hensarling, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, once called Pence his “dearest friend” and “closest colleague” when they both served in Congress. On Thursday, he issued a statement calling Pence “perhaps the most principled conservative leader in America today” and saying he would “be a great addition to the ticket and he will make a great vice president.”
That relationship suggests that Pence’s presence on the ticket could strengthen the chances that Trump would get behind Hensarling’s so-called Choice Act – a sweeping plan to overturn the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law, one of President Barack Obama’s signature policy victories.
Hensarling’s legislation specifically takes aim at the CFPB, which appears to be structured in an unconstitutional manner, is not subject to the checks and balances typically applied to federal government agencies, and has been engaged in gathering reams of data on consumers in a way that creates privacy and cybersecurity concerns. From The Hill:
The new bill would allow Congress to set the CFPB’s budget, and replace its single director with a bipartisan commission. Republicans have tried for years to make those changes to the agency, while Democrats resisted arguing it would weaken the agency.
The CFPB would also undergo a name change. Under Hensarling’s plan, the bureau would become the “Consumer Financial Opportunity Commission,” and be given a dual mission of protecting consumers and “competitive markets,” according to a bill summary.
The regulator would also see some of its major powers curbed. Among those are the CFPB’s ability to bar any financial product in deems to be “abusive,” and its ability to gather consumer financial data.
Every other financial regulator would also be led by a bipartisan commission and have their budgets set by appropriators under the bill, although many of them already operate under those conditions.
Seen from a conservative standpoint, this is pretty reasonable stuff. But seen from Warren’s vantage point, it’s a full-on assault on the work-product for which she will be most remembered, and an agency she’d probably prefer to be heading rather than being one of a hundred senators in a highly deliberative body.
So, sure, she disagrees with Pence on overall political philosophy, and abortion and LGBT issues, specifically. But there’s likely much more to Warren’s disdain for the Vice Presidential nominee than that—and it may be a touch more personal, too.
Liz Mair is the Founder, Owner and President of Mair Strategies LLC, which works on financial regulatory issues. She is also a recovering banking lawyer.