Inside Elizabeth Warren’s behind-the-scenes strategy for pressuring Hillary Clinton

By Ylan Q. Mui

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), right, speaks during a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., on Oct. 24. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The letter Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent to the Treasury Department was 14 pages long and included four tables and 36 footnotes. It covered an obscure rule that forces severely disabled borrowers to pay taxes on student loans that have been canceled — potentially costing them thousands of dollars.

Warren argued that the agency had the power to fix the problem using its administrative authority — and urged officials to do so immediately.

“Treasury’s failure to issue guidance will harm borrowers and taxpayers,” she wrote in the letter sent this month.

Warren’s letter provides a window into a key strategy that the influential Massachusetts Democrat could deploy to drive progressive policies in a new presidential administration. Already, Warren and other liberal lawmakers have made clear that they will oppose high-level appointments with ties to Wall Street or who have supported free trade and financial deregulation. But Warren is also expected to rely on a less visible approach of pushing top officials to flex their administrative muscle.

[Liberals are preparing blacklists of appointees they want Clinton to avoid]

Such efforts could prove critical if Congress remains divided, as polls suggest is likely, but could still be subject to legal challenges. President Obama tried to circumvent gridlock on Capitol Hill by issuing executive orders intended to halt deportations of illegal immigrants who arrived as children and force power plants to reduce their carbon emissions, among others, earning the ire of Republicans who criticized the moves as an overreach of power. Both cases have been reviewed by the Supreme Court, with justices deadlocking over the former and delaying the latter …read more

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