Elizabeth Ann Warren (nÃ©e Herring; born June 22, 1949) is an American politician and former academic, serving as the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts since 2013. She was formerly a law school professor specializing in bankruptcy law. A member of the Democratic Party and a self-described progressive, Warren has focused on consumer protection, economic opportunity, and the social safety net while in the Senate.
Warren is a graduate of the University of Houston and Rutgers Law School and has taught law at several universities, including the University of Houston, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University. She was one of the most influential professors in the field of commercial law before beginning her political career. She has authored five and coauthored six books.
Warren's first foray into public policy began in 1995 when she worked to oppose what eventually became a 2005 act restricting bankruptcy access for individuals. Her national profile grew during the late 2000s following her forceful public stances in favor of more stringent banking regulations after the 2007â€“08 financial crisis. She served as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel of the Troubled Asset Relief Program and was instrumental in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, of which she served as the first Special Advisor under President Obama.
In November 2012, Warren won the U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts, defeating incumbent Republican Scott Brown and becoming the first female Senator from Massachusetts. She was assigned to the Senate Special Committee on Aging; the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee; and the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Warren won reelection by a wide margin in 2018, defeating Republican nominee Geoff Diehl. On February 9, 2019, at a rally in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Warren announced her candidacy in the 2020 United States presidential election.
In January 2018, Warren was one of thirteen senators to vote against the confirmation of Jerome Powell as Chair of the Federal Reserve.
In April 2019, Warren sent letters to Stephen Moore and Herman Cain expressing her concerns about them joining the Federal Reserve Board after President Trump expressed interest in nominating them. Warren wrote that both Moore and Cain had a "history of forming views on policy based on political loyalties" and that those statements along with others "strongly suggest that you lack the capacity to exercise the seriousness, care, consistency, and political independence expected of members of the Board of Governors by policymakers and the American public across the political spectrum."
Warren said in 2014: "[G]ambling can also be a real problem, economically, for a lot of people. I didn't support gambling the first time around and I don't expect to support it." She opposed Massachusetts' 2011 law augmenting Las Vegas-style gambling and she supported its 2014 repeal initiative.
In March 2019, Warren and thirty-eight other senators signed a letter to the Appropriations Committee opining that contractor workers and by extension their families "should not be penalized for a government shutdown that they did nothing to cause" while noting that there were bills in both chambers of Congress that if enacted would provide back pay to compensate contractor employees for lost wages before urging the Appropriations Committee "to include back pay for contractor employees in a supplemental appropriations bill for FY2019 or as part of the regular appropriations process for FY2020.
In April 2019, Warren was one of forty-one senators to sign a bipartisan letter to the housing subcommittee praising the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 4 Capacity Building program as authorizing "HUD to partner with national nonprofit community development organizations to provide education, training, and financial support to local community development corporations (CDCs) across the country" and expressing disappointment that President Trump's budget "has slated this program for elimination after decades of successful economic and community development." The senators wrote of their hope that the subcommittee would support continued funding for Section 4 in Fiscal Year 2020.
Warren is in favor of increasing the minimum wage and has argued that if the minimum wage had followed increases in worker productivity in the United States, it would now be at least $22 an hour.
In July 2015, Warren was one of seventy-seven Democratic members of Congress to unveil the Schedules that Work Act, authorizing employees of companies with over 15 workers to have the right to request changes in their schedules without potential retaliation and mandating that employers consider the request if the schedule change is based around child or elder care, a second job, continued education, job training or because of a health condition. Warren said, "A worker who is told to wait around on-call for hours with no guarantee of work hours should get something for his time. It's time to end unfair scheduling practices that hurt workers and families."
In May 2018, Warren was one of twelve senators to sign a letter to Chairman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority Colleen Kiko urging the FLRA to end efforts to close its Boston regional office until Congress debated the matter, furthering that the FLRA closing down its seven regional offices would cause staff to be placed farther away from the federal employees they protect the rights of.
In June 2018, Warren was one of eight senators to sponsor a bill amending the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to include a mandate requiring farmers pay workers time and a half for each hour worked past the standard 40-hour work week.
In July 2019, Warren signed a letter to United States Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta that advocated for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to initiate a full investigation into a complaint filed on May 20 by a group of Chicago-area employees of McDonald's, which detailed workplace violence incidents that included interactions with customers such as customers throwing hot coffee and threatening employees with firearms and more. The senators argued that McDonald's could and needed to "do more to protect its employees, but employers will not take seriously their obligations to provide a safe workplace if OSHA does not enforce workers rights to a hazard-free workplace."
Warren supports the Buffett Rule, which would restore the Clinton tax rates on the top income bracket. She believes that the added revenues should be used to make college more affordable and help students pay off their student loans.
In a November 2015 speech to the National Press Club, Warren said, "Only one problem with the over-taxation story: It's not true. There is a problem with the corporate tax code, but that isn't it." She advocated for a permanent increase in the share of long-term revenues paid by large corporations, leveling the playing field between small and big businesses, and promoting investment in American jobs.
In December 2015, Warren and Representative Elijah Cummings called for Congress to compose a set of benefits for low-income families that would be permanent as part of massive package of year-end tax breaks that was being developed at the time. Warren credited the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit as the federal programs contributing the most to the reduction of child poverty while saying that the value of the CTC had eroded due to its credit not having been indexed.
In September 2016, after the European Union ruled that Apple Inc. owed Ireland $14.5 billion in back taxes, Warren wrote an op-ed opining that the door was open for Congress to pass their "own corporate tax code, which has allowed the biggest multinationals to shirk their obligations for decades" and "the commission's announcement was the latest sign that multinational corporations are running out of places to hide from paying taxes." She observed that "the current generation of corporate winners" would have to pay their fair share in order for "the next generation of prosperous American companies" to be ushered in along with investments in "broad-based economic growth" to be feasible.
In December 2016, Warren, Tammy Baldwin, and Sheldon Whitehouse unveiled a bill curbing Trump cabinet nominees from avoiding paying large amounts of taxes upon assuming their positions through the addition of a cap on the amount of capital gains an appointee could defer at $1 million. In a press release, Warren said, "Not only is Donald Trump giving a gang of billionaires control of our government, he's offering them a special tax break just for signing up. This bill would stop billionaires from getting yet another special favor from Donald Trump."
Warren opposed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which she voted against. In September 2017 Warren criticized the proposed tax legislation declaring that it, "Delivers massive tax cuts to millionaires and giant corporations and kicks working families to the curb". In October 2017, regarding the Trump administration's proposed tax reform, Warren said, "Trump’s tax plan is simple. The rich get richer, and everyone else gets left behind. It is just plain immoral at a time when the top 1 percent are already getting richer and richer and working families are scraping to pay for housing and schools and child care; it is just plain immoral to slash taxes for the rich while sticking it to everyone else."
In April 2019, Warren proposed the "Real Corporate Profits Tax" which would consider as the corporate tax base profits that enterprises disclose to investors instead of profits reported to the IRS only. Under the proposal, announced profits would be taxed at a flat rate of 7% for every dollar above $100M, and would apply to an estimated 1,200 public corporations. The tax would limit enterprises' capacity for tax avoidance/sheltering since it would apply to overall global profits, and would not allow for reduction of the tax burden via tax deductions or credits. The tax would exist in parallel with (or, rather, on top of) the corporate income tax, and would be akin to the alternative minimum tax levied upon some individuals, imposing a minimum tax (including) on corporations that hitherto would have had been paying little to no in corporate income taxes.
As part of her presidential campaign, Warren proposed an annual wealth tax ("Ultra-Millionaire Tax") in January 2019. The proposal would levy a 2% annual tax on household net worth above $50M, and a 3% annual tax on net worth above $1bn. The tax would affect an estimated 75,000 households, and would yield $1.9tn or $2.75tn over a 10 year period, according to two different initial estimates. The proposal also includes provisions to combat tax evasion and avoidance, increasing the IRS budget to enforce the tax, requiring a minimum audit rate for entities subject to the tax, and levying a 40% "exit tax" on wealth above $50M to combat tax avoidance by means of renouncing US citizenship. The plan would also encourage the IRS to close loopholes in asset valuation, and increase oversight over wealth in known tax havens. Warren had previously informally voiced support for a tax on wealth during a discussion with Thomas Piketty in 2014. The 2019 proposal was in line with the recommendations of Piketty who promptly endorsed the plan.
Warren has frequently expressed concern about the amount of debt college graduates face, and especially so when they are often unable to find employment after graduation.
Warren has introduced legislation to reduce the interest rates on student loans. She sees the passage of legislation that would support students as a test of who legislators are working for: "...armies of lawyers and lobbyists to protect tax loopholes for billionaires and profits for the big banks ... or those who work hard, play by the rules, and are trying to build a future for themselves and their families?"
Energy and environmental policy
Warren supports investing in renewable energy rather than "hand[ing] out massive tax breaks to [nonrenewable] energy companies that are among the most profitable corporations in the world." She says that "as long as we subsidize dirty sources like oil, gas, and coal, we threaten the air we breathe and the water we drink." She also believes our reliance on oil and gas "...puts us at the mercy of OPEC. We are more likely to prop up foreign dictators or become entangled in wars that are about our energy needs rather than our long-term, strategic interests ... Investing in clean energy technology is investing in our health, our environmental security, our national security, and our economic security."
Foreign policy - China
In March 2018, during a three-day visit to Beijing, Warren claimed that US policy encouraging the opening of markets in China through free trade has not been successful. She advocated against the United States having a more integrated economic system with China if the latter country continued failing "to respect basic human rights".
###Foreign policy - North Korea
In September 2017, after President Trump delivered a speech to the United Nations threatening to "totally destroy" North Korea if the United States were "forced to defend itself or its allies" and referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as "Rocket Man", Warren said that attempting "to bait an unstable dictator who has nuclear weapons is not a strategy that makes America safer". Warren opined that there was no solution to North Korea that could be solved with only American military intervention: "We need to use every tool in the toolbox. And that means diplomatic efforts with the neighbors in the region and actually all around the world so that we can gather intelligence, so we can impose economic sanctions in the right way, so we can enforce those sanctions, so we can bring the right kind of pressure to bear on North Korea just to back them off this nuclear cliff.”
Foreign policy - Russia
On July 11, 2018, Warren tweeted: "America is strongest when we work together with our allies – including the 28 NATO members who share our democratic values. Undermining NATO is a gift to Putin that @realDonaldTrump seems all too happy to give."
Foreign policy - Afghanistan
Warren claims to oppose continuing the war in Afghanistan and support withdrawing U.S. troops "as quickly as possible, consistent with the safety of our troops and with a transition to Afghan control." On November 29, 2018, she said: "Poppy production is up. The Taliban are on the rise. Afghan forces are taking unsustainable losses. The government is losing territory and credibility."
Foreign policy - Myanmar
Warren condemned the genocide of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar and called for a stronger response to the crisis.
Foreign policy - Iran
Warren has stated that Iran is a "significant threat" to the United States and its allies. In July 2017, Warren voted in favor of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act that grouped together sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea.
Foreign policy - Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Warren supports a secure and democratic state of Israel and wants to ensure the security of Israel from external forces such as Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and others. Warren states she supports a two state solution, but she believes Palestinian application for membership in the UN isn't helpful.
Foreign policy - Saudi Arabia
Warren criticized U.S. involvement in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen and accused the United States of complicity in Yemen's humanitarian crisis. Warren said: "For over 3 years, the US has helped the Saudi-led coalition bomb Yemen with few constraints. Thousands of civilians died in airstrikes."
Government - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Warren was an early advocate for the creation of a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The bureau was established by the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act signed into law by President Obama in July 2010. In anticipation of the agency's formal opening, for the first year after the bill's signing, she worked on implementation of the bureau as a special assistant to the president.
In January 2019, Warren was one of twenty senators to sponsor the Dreamer Confidentiality Act, a bill imposing a ban on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from passing information collected on DACA recipients to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Department of Justice, or any other law enforcement agency with exceptions in the case of fraudulent claims, national security issues, or non-immigration related felonies being investigated.
In February 2019, Warren was one of sixteen senators to vote against legislation preventing a partial government shutdown and containing 1.375 billion for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border that included 55 miles of fencing.
In March 2019, Warren voted to block President Trump's national emergency declaration that would have granted him access to $3.6 billion in military construction funding to build border barriers.
In April 2019, Warren signed a letter led by Catherine Cortez Masto to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Enforcement asserting that "the civil detention of an expectant mother for potential immigration offenses is never justified" due to the "absence of compelling evidence that the detention of a pregnant woman is necessary because she is a threat to herself or others, or is a threat to public safety or national security". The senators requested the CBP enact measures that would ensure "timely and appropriate treatment" for pregnant women in custody along with both agencies providing information on how available facilities and doctors are for pregnant immigrants and complete data on the number of those currently in custody.
In the 2008 book, Health at Risk, in the chapter Get Sick, Go Broke, Warren and Deborah Thorne wrote that "We approach the health care debates from a single perspective: maintaining the financial stability of families confronting illness or injury. The most obvious solution would be universal single-payer health care." However, Warren and Thorne also note that "If universal, single-payer health insurance is politically unacceptable, then another option would be to guarantee all Americans access to affordable and adequate health insurance that cannot be terminated or made more costly if a family member is ill or injured."
In January 2019, during the 2018–19 United States federal government shutdown, Warren was one of thirty-four senators to sign a letter to Commissioner of Food and Drugs Scott Gottlieb recognizing the efforts of the FDA to address the effect of the government shutdown on the public health and employees while remaining alarmed "that the continued shutdown will result in increasingly harmful effects on the agency’s employees and the safety and security of the nation’s food and medical products."
In February 2019, Warren was one of twenty-three Democratic senators to introduce the State Public Option Act, a bill that would authorize states to form a Medicaid buy-in program for all residents and thereby grant all denizens of the state the ability to buy into a state-driven Medicaid health insurance plan if they wished. Brian Schatz, a bill cosponsor, said the legislation would "unlock each state’s Medicaid program to anyone who wants it, giving people a high-quality, low-cost public health insurance option" and that its goal was "to make sure that every single American has comprehensive health care coverage."
In August 2019, Warren was one of nineteen senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar requesting data from the Trump administration in order to aid in the comprehension of states and Congress on potential consequences in the event that the Texas v. United States Affordable Care Act (ACA) lawsuit prevailed in courts, citing that an overhaul of the present health care system would form "an enormous hole in the pocketbooks of the people we serve as well as wreck state budgets". That same month, Warren, three other Senate Democrats, and Bernie Sanders signed a letter to Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless in response to Novartis falsifying data as part of an attempt to gain the FDA's approval for its new gene therapy Zolgensma, writing that it was "unconscionable that a drug company would provide manipulated data to federal regulators in order to rush its product to market, reap federal perks, and charge the highest amount in American history for its medication."
Warren has worked to protect military spending in her home state of Massachusetts: during her first year in the Senate she and other members of the state's congressional delegation successfully opposed $128 million cuts to the PM WIN-T battlefield communications program which had been proposed by the Pentagon in order to add funding for the War in Afghanistan, an effort assisted by a lobbying campaign led by General Dynamics. In 2013 she also lobbied Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel regarding maintaining restrictions in the supply of Army Manpack radios, arguing against increasing the number of vendors beyond the initial two, General Dynamics and Rockwell Collins, despite the radios being poorly rated in combat testing. She voted for the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, but was one of ten senators who voted against the 2019 NDAA.
Warren supports abortion rights and opposes any Supreme Court nominees who "oppose legal abortion".
Warren supports same-sex marriage and passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
Warren supports reinstating an extended magazine long rifle weapons ban as well as more rigorous background screenings, including for people who purchase firearms at gun shows, and she opposes limits on the sharing of firearms trace information. On April 17, 2013, she voted to expand background checks for gun purchases.
In May 2018, Warren voted for a bill that would reinstate net neutrality rules and thereby overturn the FCC's repeal via a law authorizing Congress to reverse regulatory actions by a simple majority vote.