Dodd questions if Warren could be confirmed as banking watchdog

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd denied today that he is opposed to the nomination of Elizabeth Warren as the first consumer-protection watchdog overseeing the banking industry.

“I’m not lobbying against her at all,” Dodd told reporters in Hartford. “All I said is I want a confirmable nominee, and right now, that’s trouble. Elizabeth would be a great choice in my view.”

Public statements by Dodd about the inability of Warren, a Harvard professor who had been advocating for the creation of the consumer post, to win confirmation have generated stories about Dodd’s motives.

Dodd said today his only objection to the White House nominating Warren is his reading of votes in the Senate – and they are not there.

“My job is report to the White House what I know,” he said.

Dodd said the new agency, which was one of the key provisions in the financial reform bill he pushed as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, needs to be up and running.

There is a serious risk of opponents of the agency being stronger in the next Congress, he said.

“If you don’t have it and running and beginning to produce, you run the risk of losing it,” said Dodd, a Democrat who is not seeking re-election.