Elizabeth Warren vs. Wall Street: What to know

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., officially announced on Saturday that she is running for president in 2020.

Warren is known for keeping a watchful eye on big business and Wall Street, through proposed legislation and also for tough critiques during congressional hearings.

In addition, she recently took a swipe at big pharmaceutical companies through a bill unveiled in December aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs by allowing the federal government to manufacture certain generic medications.

As the progressive senator gears up for a potential 2020 run, here’s a look at some of her signature positions regarding business.


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is Warren’s brainchild and was included as a part of the post-financial crisis reform package known as Dodd-Frank. It came into being in 2011.

The CFPB was created to protect consumers from unfair practices within the financial sector – and that means monitoring, regulating and, in some cases -- taking actions against institutions like credit agencies and payday lenders.

The agency has become a sticking point between the two political parties. Republicans believe the bureau needs more oversight: Its director is the only head of an agency that cannot be removed by the president at will and it is also funded by the Federal Reserve instead of Congress.

Mick Mulvaney temporarily took over as acting director of the bureau following the departure of its original director, Richard Cordray, last year. Trump-appointee Kathy Kraninger was confirmed as director earlier this month.

Wells Fargo

Warren is one of scandal-plagued Wells Fargo’s most outspoken critics.

She has continually railed against the company for a phony-bank account scandal, where perhaps millions of accounts were created for customers without their knowledge or consent. She told CEO Tim Sloan last year during testimony on Capitol Hill that he should be fired.

Last month, she called for the bank to be removed from college campuses over its "exorbitant fees."

In October, she wrote a letter to Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell suggesting that Wells Fargo should continue to be restricted by an asset-cap regulation until Sloan is removed. The bank has said the asset cap restricted business.

She has also called for the removal of the entire Wells Fargo board.

In addition to being a staunch critic of Wells Fargo, Warren sits on the Senate Banking Committee where she advocates for regulating Wall Street’s other largest banks.

Wealthy Americans

Last month, Warren proposed a new tax on the wealthiest Americans. The so-called “ultra-millionaire tax” would apply to those with more than $50 million in assets. The tax would be equal to 2 percent, but would rise to 3 percent for those who have assets valued at more than $1 billion. The tax would raise $2.75 trillion over the course of a decade. It would only apply to less than 0.1 percent of the population – about 75,000 families.

She also signed on as a co-sponsor for a bill introduced by New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that calls for a “New Green Deal.” While Ocasio-Cortez suggested taxing the highest-earning Americans at a 70 percent rate to pay for the climate change initiative, Warren said revenue from her ultra-millionaire tax could ultimately fund it.

Big business

During an interview with The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin in September, Warren went after big technology companies like Amazon, expressing concerns over whether it can compete fairly in the marketplace.

“You want to be a competitor, be a competitor. That's great,” she said. “You want to be the platform provider that is a different function. If you're getting a huge competitive advantage from being a platform provider because of all this information you keep scraping off, then we no longer have competition going on."

In August, Warren introduced legislation that targeted big corporations. Known as the Accountable Capitalism Act, the measure would require corporations with more than $1 billion in annual revenue to get a federal charter of corporate citizenship, which would give it fiduciary responsibilities beyond maximizing shareholder value. The senator essentially wants to require corporations to have the same responsibilities under the social contract as the average U.S. citizen.

In order to give workers a larger say in the corporate decision-making process, Warren’s bill would require 40 percent employee approval in electing corporate directors. And three-quarters of directors would need to approve any politically motivated expenditures.

In a bid to reduce some financial incentives among executives, the Accountable Capitalism Act also aims to ban leaders from selling company shares within five years of receiving them, or within three years of a corporate stock buyback.


Economic policies

Warren also supports increasing minimum wages and expanding Social Security.

She said as far back as 2013 that the minimum wage should be $22 to keep pace with productivity.