When it became my responsibility as Chairman of the Financial Services Committee in 2009 to begin work on a financial reform bill, Elizabeth Warren was one of the first people I made sure to consult.
Elizabeth was focused to a very great extent on her concept of an independent agency to protect consumers from being abused or taken advantage of in their financial dealings. She and I began working together to get the necessary Congressional support to make this part of the law.
I knew before I met Elizabeth that she was the intellectual leader in this field. What I learned to my benefit was that she was — and is — a natural legislator and leader.
On the first anniversary of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that she did so much to create, I’ve signed a card thanking Elizabeth for her hard work and determination to make it possible and I ask that you sign the card with me.
While Elizabeth was not then a Member of Congress — a condition I hope that will soon be changed — she had a great understanding of the way in which our process worked, from both the procedural and political standpoint.
She was also a rare example of someone who was extremely talented at both the inside and outside parts of the work.
That is, she was a perfect ally in my dealings with other Members of Congress, and a great asset in her ability to communicate with the broader public and to mobilize the support that was needed to overcome the entrenched opposition of virtually every financial institution.
I am proud, as I said, of the work I was able to do as Chairman to create the Independent Consumer Bureau. We are fortunate that we had a President who was committed to doing everything he could to help this get adopted.
And we were particularly lucky to have, as the spearhead for this particular effort, an advocate who combines a zeal for the substance with a pragmatic understanding of how to achieve it.
There is one last thing I want to say. We now face a situation where there is a serious effort to undermine financial reform and weaken the new consumer agency.
Mitt Romney has even called for full-on repeal. And in Congress, Republicans have been using a variety of tactics to chip at it in ways that are more obscure and complicated but still devastating.
We need to elect Elizabeth Warren and to protect the Democratic majority in the Senate in order to protect American consumers. It’s critical for the future of our economy and our country.