Activist Senator Warren to join Senate banking panel

US senator-elect Elizabeth Warren was nominated Wednesday to be a member of the Senate Banking Committee, where the prominent consumer advocate will have influence over laws affecting the finance industry.

Warren, a Harvard professor who made her reputation defending Americans from Wall Street abuse, defeated Republican incumbent Senator Scott Brown in November after a bitter, expensive race. She takes her seat in early January.

"These committee assignments will allow all members of our caucus to bring their unique talents and expertise to bear as we work together to advance the interests of the middle class," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement.

The Democratic caucus must approve the nominations, and if the full Senate then ratifies the changes the 63-year-old Warren will join 11 other Democrats on the banking panel.

Warren has earned strong liberal backing for being a fierce critic of big banks, and she played a major role in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a part of sweeping financial regulatory reform passed by Congress in 2010.

She was asked by President Barack Obama to run the bureau she helped create, but Senate Republicans strongly objected and Obama withdrew her nomination.

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