Will Oversight Antics Engulf Warren's Return?

July 13, 2011 12:06 pm ET — Brian Powell

Patrick McHenry

The American people are waiting to see whether cooler heads prevail when Elizabeth Warren, a special advisor to President Obama helping to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, returns to Capitol Hill tomorrow to testify before the House Oversight Committee.

Her last appearance, in late May, was marred by a vitriolic back-and-forth between Warren and Republican committee members. The hostility was less than productive, with some Republicans demanding yes-or-no answers and Warren being unwilling to answer them without the opportunity to add context. It reached its lowest point when Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) called Warren a liar, and she subsequently left the hearing before Republicans had finished flaying her, citing a prior agreement with McHenry's staff.

The days following the hearing took a page out of an episode of Gossip Girl. Oversight Republicans lobbed insults at Warren via their Twitter accounts while Warren's supporters flooded McHenry's Facebook page with lectures and complaints.

As Republicans on the committee have acted like children, Warren has sought to remain about the fray, concentrating on her important work setting up the CFPB, which is set to launch on July 21. Tomorrow, she will face an extended gauntlet of questioning. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the chair of the Oversight Committee, wrote to Warren, "I expect you to remain before the committee until all members of the committee have had all their answers questioned."

It remains to be seen whether their questions will be constructive, or simply part of a witch hunt intended to politically damage Warren and President Obama.