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Rep. Barney Frank: ‘Gender Bias’ Contributed to Warren Downfall

House [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., blames an unconscious culture of sexism for the failed appointment of Elizabeth Warren to the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“Part of it I have to say was gender bias,” Frank said on the House floor Wednesday.

Warren, a former Harvard professor, was tapped as a White House adviser and helped set up the newly formed CFPB, but she was ultimately passed over by the Obama administration.  Instead, they nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to lead the start-up government agency.

The CFPB is a new federal agency that will put regulators in charge of policing the financial services industry.  It was widely assumed that Warren would not have obtained the necessary 60 votes to overcome a filibuster of her nomination.

Warren was the subject of harsh questioning from Republican members of Congress during her numerous appearances before the House Financial Services Committee when she was working to create CFPB.

But she is also known for asking tough questions herself -- grilling Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner back in 2009 when she chaired the Congressional Oversight Panel, created by Congress to oversee the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

Frank did not say who he blames for gender bias -- the White House for not nominating her or Republicans in the Senate for promising to block her nomination.

“Ms. Warren encountered from some people, maybe unconscious on their part, the notion that very strong-willed women with strong opinions might have a place but not in the financial sector,” said Frank.

Jeff Emerson, a spokesman for Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee, pointed out that Warren could easily have been nominated by the White House over Cordray.

“Mr. Frank obviously ignores the fact that President Obama could nominate whomever he wanted for this position and it is President Obama who chose not to nominate Elizabeth Warren,” said Emerson.

Warren will return to Harvard on Aug. 1, according to the Treasury Department, but there has been wide speculation that Warren might run for Senate in Massachusetts.  The consumer advocate is considered to be a potential Democratic challenger to Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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