Senator Elizabeth Warren has earned serious street cred as a populist champion for the causes near to her heart following yesterday’s House revolt against the Omnibus bill, which she inspired. Analysts are already drawing comparisons to her with Tea Party firebrand Ted Cruz, another first-term senator like herself. Both senators represent a new brand of elected official more adherent to their philosophy than they are to the established leadership and traditions of Beltway politics.
All eyes are going to be on her when she takes the podium to address the Omnibus bill on the Senate floor. She won admiration for her ability to go toe-to-toe against President Obama. Despite losing the battle, she established her reputation as an ideologue. However, it is one thing to inspire a revolt in the House and another to circumvent the well ensconced Senate hierarchy. This is an area where Senator Cruz had gained little traction.
Currently, the Senate’s most powerful Democrat next to Harry Reid is Chuck Schumer. From what I’ve heard from my political expert friend Dan Newlin, Schumer’s constituency includes Wall Street. In order for Warren to mount a serious challenge to strip the financial reform rider from the budget bill, she will need to do so prying it from Schumer’s proverbial “cold dead hands”. Like Cruz, she runs the risk of alienating herself from key senators within her party. Five-term Senator Barbara Mikulski, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, already made it clear she was annoyed by the critics of the Omnibus bill, which was a thinly veiled jab at Warren over the House revolt she triggered off.