Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the presidential race on March 5, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Warren is campaigning on the promise she will push sweeping changes that address economic inequality and root out corruption. The former Harvard law professor was a prominent voice for stricter oversight following the 2008 financial crisis before being elected to the US Senate in 2012.
University of Houston B.S., 1970; Rutgers University, J.D., 1976
June 22, 1949
Bruce Mann; divorced from Jim Warren
Amelia, Alexander (with Jim Warren)
Professor, Harvard Law School, 1995-2012; Visiting professor, Harvard Law School, 1992-1993; Law professor, University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1987-1995; Professor of law, University of Texas Law School in Austin, 1983-1987; Assistant and later associate professor at the University of Houston Law Center, 1978-1983; Law lecturer at Rutgers School of Law, 1977-1978; Speech pathologist at a New Jersey elementary school, early 1970s
WARREN IN THE NEWS
Elizabeth Warren to Fed chair Jerome Powell: Don't 'drive this economy off a cliff'
Updated 3:04 PM ET, Wed Jun 22, 2022
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell conceded that the Federal Reserve's aggressive interest rate hikes won't solve two of the biggest problems facing families: high prices for gas and groceries. During a Senate Banking Committee hearing Wednesday, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren urged Powell to proceed with rate hikes cautiously and avoid setting off a recession that costs millions of jobs. Warren asked Powell if Fed rate increases will lower gas prices, which have hit record highs this month. "I would not think so," Powell said. Warren asked if grocery prices will go down because of the Fed's war on inflation. "I wouldn't say so, no," Powell said. Warren expressed concern about the impact of the Fed's rate hikes on families and the risk of a recession. "Rate hikes won't make Vladimir Putin turn his tanks around and leave Ukraine," Warren said, adding that they won't break up corporate monopolies or stop Covid-19. Warren said that rate hikes will, however, raise borrowing costs on families and could cause job losses. "Inflation is like an illness and the medicine needs to be tailored to the specific problem, otherwise you could make things a lot worse," Warren said. "Right now, the Fed has no control over the main drivers of rising prices but the Fed can slow demand by getting a lot of people fired and making families poorer." The Massachusetts Democrat urged Powell to proceed cautiously with further rate hikes. "You know what's worse than high inflation and low unemployment? It's high inflation with a recession and millions of people out of work," Warren said. "I hope you consider that before you drive this economy off a cliff." Senators from both sides of the aisle sought to blame rising inflation on a variety of factors, including the pandemic stimulus, wage growth and corporate prices increases. However, Powell declined to weigh in on any of those politically heated issues. "I'm really focused on what we could do, which is shrink our balance sheet and raise interest rates and get supply and demand back into alignment and get inflation back down to 2%," he said. Fed pledges to tame inflation Powell acknowledged that the high cost of living is inflicting financial pain on Main Street and expressed confidence the US economy can ride out this difficult period. "At the Fed, we understand the hardship high inflation is causing," Powell said in prepared remarks during the Senate Banking Committee hearing Wednesday. "We are strongly committed to bringing inflation back down, and we are moving expeditiously to do so." Powell, whose remarks echoed ones he made last week at the Fed meeting, said officials plan to continue to raise interest rates to get inflation under control. The Fed's rate hike last week was its biggest since 1994. "The American economy is very strong and well-positioned to handle tighter monetary policy," the Fed chair said. Powell faces questions over why the Fed waited until March to raise interest rates and why it felt the need to accelerate the pace of rate hikes. In his remarks, Powell noted that monetary policy requires a recognition that the economy often evolves in "unexpected" ways. He said supply constraints have been "larger and longer lasting" than anticipated and the war in Ukraine has driven up energy prices. "Inflation has obviously surprised to the upside over the past year, and further surprises could be in store," Powell said. "We therefore need to be nimble in responding to incoming data and the evolving outlook." Recession is 'certainly a possibility,' but not the goal Asked if rate hikes could spark a downturn, Powell said that's "certainly a possibility," but stressed that is not the Fed's "intention." Powell conceded though that the risks are rising. "Frankly, the events over the last few months have made it more difficult for us to achieve what we want, which is 2% inflation and still a strong labor market," Powell said. The Fed chief later said he doesn't think a recession will be needed to tame inflation. "I don't think that we will need to provoke a recession, but we do think it's absolutely essential to restore price stability, really for the benefit of the labor market as much as anything else," he said. Home prices should finally start stabilizing Powell, whose policies have helped spark an historic housing boom, expects home price gains will ease because of surging mortgage rates. He told lawmakers that the Fed's aggressive interest rate hikes are already slowing down the housing market, eating into demand for homes. "Housing prices should stop going up at such remarkably rapid rates," Powell said. "Since the beginning of the pandemic, we've had a very, very hot...housing market all across the country. As demand for housing moderates...you should see prices stop going up." One driver of surging home prices was extremely low borrowing costs and the Fed's purchase of hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgage bonds. Although he expects prices to cool off, Powell cautioned that the Fed does not control the supply of homes and said homebuilders have warned of supply constraints. "That is not something the Federal Reserve can do anything about," he said. Another complication is that rising mortgage rates -- which are spiking at the fastest pace since 1987 -- will hurt some people who wish to buy homes. "There's some pain involved in that for people paying higher mortgage rates," Powell said. "Some people will be priced out of the mortgage market, but that is ultimately what needs to happen if we are to get back to price stability, to a place where people's wages aren't being eaten up by inflation...The greatest pain would be if we allowed this high inflation to continue." Additional reporting by Alicia Wallace
A backer of the Green New Deal, the broad plan to address renewable-energy infrastructure and climate change proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Warren has set out one of the most detailed proposals for making it happen. In June 2019, she introduced a suite of industrial proposals with names like the “Green Apollo Program” and “Green Marshall Plan.” Her Green Industrial Mobilization is the most ambitious – and expensive, with a $1.5 trillion price tag over 10 years – for spending on “American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy products for federal, state, and local use, and for export.” The “Green Apollo” plan would invest in scientific innovation and the “Green Marshall Plan” would facilitate the sales of new green technologies to foreign markets. In September 2019, Warren announced she would adopt the climate change proposals championed by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who bowed out of his climate change-focused candidacy in August 2019. That includes a 10-year plan for moving to 100% clean energy and emissions-free vehicles, as well as zero-carbon pollution from all new commercial and residential buildings by 2028. Warren says achieving those goals would take another $1 trillion in investment on top of her existing proposals, which she says would be covered by reversing the 2017 Republican tax cuts. Warren said in October 2019 that, if elected president, she would mandate all federal agencies to consider climate impacts in their permitting and rulemaking processes. When tribal nations are involved, Warren wrote in a Medium post, projects would not proceed unless “developers have obtained the free, prior and informed consent of the tribal governments concerned.” She said a Warren administration would aggressively pursue cases of environmental discrimination, and would fully fund the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s environmental health programs. Warren told The Washington Post she would recommit the US to the Paris climate accord, a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets that Trump has pledged to abandon. More on Warren’s climate crisis policy
Warren says she’s a capitalist but wants regulation. “I believe in markets,” she said in a March 2019 CNN town hall, following up with a focus on rules and regulation. “Market without rules is theft.” The senator has released a tax plan that would impose a 2% tax on households with net worths of more than $50 million and an additional 1% levy on wealth above $1 billion. This tax would cover, according to Warren, a universal child care program she announced in February 2019. Warren has staked out her claim as an opposition leader against what she sees as big business overreach. Also in February 2019, she criticized Amazon for “walk[ing] away from billions in taxpayer bribes, all because some elected officials in New York aren’t sucking up to them enough. How long will we allow giant corporations to hold our democracy hostage?” She was opposed to the recent deregulation efforts around banks. Warren is calling for the breakup of companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon and advocated legislation that would make Amazon Marketplace and Google search into utilities. In July 2019, Warren released a plan aimed at Wall Street and private equity that would reinstate a modern Glass-Steagall Act, which would wall off commercial banks from investment banks, place new restrictions on the private equity industry and propose legislative action to more closely tie bank executives’ pay to their companies’ performance. She also released a set of trade policy changes that would seek to defend American jobs by negotiating to raise global labor and environmental standards. The senator wrote that she would not strike any trade deals unless partner countries meet a series of ambitious preconditions regarding human rights, religious freedom, and labor and environmental practices, among other issues. She said she would renegotiate existing trade agreements to ensure other countries meet the higher standards, and she pledged to push for a new “non-sustainable economy” designation to give her the ability to penalize countries with poor labor and environmental practices. Warren said in October 2019 that she would extend labor rights to all workers, protect pensions and strengthen workers’ rights to organize, bargain collectively and strike. More on Warren’s economic policy
Warren has released a plan to forgive up to $50,000 in student debt for tens of millions of Americans. The amount of relief would be tied to income, with those households making $250,000 or more shut out of the program. Households earning less than $250,000 would be eligible for relief on a sliding scale, with those reporting less than $100,000 a year eligible for the maximum. Warren unveiled the proposal as part of a larger program that would supercharge federal spending on higher education, including eliminating tuition and fees for college students at two- and four-year public institutions. It would also ask states to pay a share of the costs. Warren would expand grants for low-income and minority students to help with costs like housing, food, books and child care. Her campaign has priced the plan at $1.25 trillion over 10 years and says it would be paid for by her wealth tax. The plan would also establish a $50 billion fund for historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions. More on Warren’s education policy
During the first Democratic debate, Warren called gun violence “a national health emergency” that should be treated like a “virus that’s killing our children” – and called for robust new restrictions and new investment in research. “We can do the universal background checks, we can ban the weapons of war,” Warren added, “but we can also double down on the research and find out what really works.” Though her campaign has not yet released a gun control plan, Warren has been active on the issue as a senator. In February 2018, less than two weeks after the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, she sent letters to nine major gun company shareholders, asking that they use their influence to pressure the industry to take steps to reduce gun violence. She supports bans on so-called assault weapons and legislation prohibiting high-capacity magazines, and has voted to expand background checks for gun buyers.
Warren has endorsed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” bill, which would create a national government-run health care program and essentially eliminate the private insurance industry. In a plan released in November 2019, Warren said she would implement Medicare for All in two phases that would be complete by the end of her first term. Warren proposed a plan in April 2019 to drive down the maternal mortality rate among African American women. Warren has also co-sponsored legislation in the Senate aimed at lowering the price of prescription drugs that includes allowing the federal government to manufacture generic medications if their prices spike. More on Warren’s health care policy
Warren unveiled a plan in July 2019 to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, pledging to reverse a series of Trump administration policies and authorize her Justice Department to review allegations of abuse against detained migrants. The proposal would decriminalize crossing the border into the United States without authorization, a step first championed by former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, and separate law enforcement from immigration enforcement. If elected, Warren said, she would first seek to pursue her agenda through legislation, but “move forward with executive action if Congress refuses to act.” Warren also said she supports legislation that would provide a path to legal status and citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Her plan would end privately contracted detention facilities and she promises that she would “issue guidance ensuring that detention is only used where it is actually necessary because an individual poses a flight or safety risk.” Warren backs expanding legal immigration, raising the refugee cap and making “it easier for those eligible for citizenship to naturalize.” She would reduce “the family reunification backlog” and provide “a fair and achievable pathway to citizenship.” More on Warren’s immigration policy
LATEST POLITICAL NEWS
Bidens 'shocked' by Highland Park shooting as White House marks July Fourth
Updated 8:41 PM ET, Mon Jul 4, 2022
President Joe Biden began Independence Day by sharing a message that looked to the country's future, but quickly had to respond to another mass shooting in the United States. "Jill and I are shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day," the President said in a statement Monday after at least six people were killed in a shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, during a July Fourth parade. Biden noted that he had "surged Federal law enforcement to assist in the urgent search for the shooter," and pointed to the gun safety legislation he recently signed into law. (Authorities said Monday evening they have taken into custody "a person of interest" connected to the shooting.) "But there is much more work to do, and I'm not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence," Biden added. Later on Monday, Biden declined to say whether stricter gun laws would have prevented the deadly shooting when pressed by CNN's MJ Lee. "We don't know the circumstances yet," he said. Vice President Kamala Harris, who's in California for the holiday, touted the recently signed legislation in her own statement, but added, "Today's shooting is an unmistakable reminder that more should be done to address gun violence in our country." Biden held a brief moment of silence at the White House Monday evening during a July Fourth picnic, noting that he'd spoken to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering. In remarks commemorating the holiday with military families at the White House earlier in the afternoon, the President made reference to the new gun safety law and the Illinois shooting, saying, "You all heard what happened today. ... Each day we're reminded there's nothing guaranteed about our democracy, nothing guaranteed about our way of life." Biden called on Americans to fight for democracy, while also broadly acknowledging national challenges. "Our economy is growing, but not without pain. Liberty is under assault -- assault both here and abroad," he said, alluding to the US Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade last month. "In recent days, there's been reason to think that this country is moving backwards. That freedom has been reduced. That rights we assumed are no longer -- a reminder that we remain in an ongoing battle for the soul of America, as we have for over 200 years." The July Fourth holiday comes amid a challenging time for the nation marked by deepening division, inflation and a recent set of polling showing that the vast majority of Americans across party lines are unhappy with the state of the US. In an AP-NORC survey released last week, 85% of US adults say that things in the country are headed in the wrong direction, with just 14% believing things are going in the right direction. That's a more pessimistic reading than in May, when 78% said things were headed the wrong way and 21% that things were generally moving in the right direction. And currently, both 92% of Republicans and 78% of Democrats are dissatisfied with the direction of the country -- the highest number among Democrats since Biden took office last year. Still, Biden attempted to reassure Americans, saying, "I know it can be exhausting and unsettling, but tonight I want you to know we're going to get through all this." America, he emphasized, is and always will be a "work in progress." "It has so often been the case that after we've taken giant steps forward, we've taken a few steps backwards. And after doing the hard work of laying the foundation for a better future, the worst of our past has reached out and pulled us back on occasion. But I know this: From the deepest depths of our worst crises, we've always risen to our higher heights," Biden told the crowd on the South Lawn. "We've always come out better than we went in." Earlier in the day, Biden had released a forward-looking statement about how the "best days still lie ahead." "The Fourth of July is a sacred day in our country -- it's a time to celebrate the goodness of our nation, the only nation on Earth founded based on an idea: that all people are created equal," Biden said in a tweet. "Make no mistake, our best days still lie ahead." This story has been updated with additional developments.