Weiss will still join Treasury as counselor to Secretary Jack Lew but will not enjoy all the statutory authority and public visibility that would come with the confirmed undersecretary job.
Weiss decided over the holiday break that this was the best way forward even though the White House was absolutely ready to move ahead with his renomination. But the administration did not fight Weiss given what many viewed as a likely monthslong and ugly confirmation process that would have left Weiss with maybe a year's time to actually do the job, if he got it all.
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The decision came after Warren last year ignited the progressive movement on the issue, arguing that Weiss did not have the regulatory experience for the job and might be too deferential to Wall Street given his private sector background.
Never mind of course that Treasury lacks anyone at a senior level with markets experience and that Weiss has never worked for a bailed-out, too big to fail bank. In fact, Weiss himself never actually mattered much in Warren's crusade. He was from Wall Street not Main Street and thus had to be defeated. No amount of support from Wall Street Democrats or Senate Republicans could save him. And he was never able to make his case directly to Warren or anyone else.
Some on the left continued to criticize Obama for allowing Weiss to work in the administration at all, even in the unconfirmed position. Warren herself was more circumspect, issuing an anodyne statement after Weiss withdrew his name.
"We've already seen that the new Republican Congress is going to aggressively attack the Dodd-Frank Act," she said. "It is critical that the Treasury Department defend the Act from those attacks and push for strong implementation and enforcement of the law. The risk of another financial crisis remains too high, and we should be strengthening financial reforms, not rolling them back to benefit Wall Street."
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Warren never mentioned Weiss by name or addressed his counselor position. Some Beltway insiders suggested this was because Warren served as an unconfirmed "special assistant" at Treasury when she helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The other big event this week saw House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi introduce a legislative agenda including a bill from Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen to impose a 0.1 percent tax on financial transactions to help pay for $2,000 per year tax credits to families making less than $200,000. The package also included efforts to force employers to give bigger wage increases and limit other tax breaks for high earners.
Republicans who control Congress of course dismissed the plan. But its legislative future was not really the point. The move suggests Democrats are eager to cast off the more cautious economic policymaking that has been the hallmark of the Obama era and look to more radical policies to try and address economic inequality.