0609-BERNSTEIN.mp3

The effort to draft Elizabeth Warren into the 2016 presidential race finally closed up shop this past Monday, conceding that the Massachusetts Senator will not go back on her denials of interest.

It’s a Washington truism that Presidential speculation amplified attention to Warren's anti-plutocrat agenda. So, naturally, some might have wondered whether the end of White House speculation might make it harder for her to get heard.

That question seemed to get answered quickly — the very next day, in fact, when Warren dropped a bombshell, 13-page letter criticizing Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White.

“To date, your leadership of the Commission has been extremely disappointing,” Warren wrote, in language that promptly reverberated through the media, and reportedly riled the Barack Obama administration.

It was a sharp reminder of how good Warren is at getting attention, whether as a rumored presidential candidate or not, says her political advisor, Doug Rubin, of Northwind Strategies in Boston. “I think she's been pretty good at finding the right way to insert the policy themes she cares about into the national conversation,” Rubin says.

Nevertheless, it seems inevitable that interest in Warren will wane, as the spotlight grows on the candidacy of presumed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

And some of the left's enthusiasm for Warren may already be shifting toward someone who is willing to run against Clinton: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Meanwhile, Politico, often a good barometer of beltway thinking, reported this week on a “ backlash against Warren,” indicating that “the populist firebrand's efforts to push for tougher financial regulation may be losing some momentum.”

As evidence, Politico cited the eventual passage of fast-track trade authorization in the Senate, against Warren's opposition, and a lack of momentum behind her new bill to regulate auto-dealer loans.

Of course, Rubin and others point out that many of Warren's ideas, and much of her rhetoric, are being adopted by presidential candidates of both parties — evidence, they say, of Warren's continuing influence. For now, the truth may be in the eye of the beholder.

Whitehouse to intro carbon tax bill

It's not usually news when Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse talks about climate change: Frankly, he rarely shuts up about it. He claims, in fact, to have delivered more than 100 speeches on the topic on the Senate floor.

But this next one should be worthy of special attention. On Thursday, Whitehouse is scheduled to speak at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, where he will unveil his new carbon fee bill.

This will be a new version of the bill he introduced late in the last two-year legislative session, although his office would not discuss details prior to this week's rollout. Whitehouse's communications director, Seth Larson, tells me it “will be similar in many ways” to last year's bill, “but will feature some important changes.”

That previous bill sought to impose a fee on carbon polluters starting at $42 per ton — based on the Obama Administration's estimate of the total so-called “social cost of carbon.”

At that time, Whitehouse estimated that his bill would not only significantly reduce carbon emissions, but bring in $2 trillion of revenue over 10 years. The bill would direct these funds into an “American Opportunity Fund,” rather than the general treasury, although it did not specify how the money should then be spent. (You can watch his floor speech about that bill.)

Keep an eye on…

You might have heard about the latest governmental data security breach, which hit the news late last week: Hackers hit the federal government's Office of Personnel Management, compromising personal information of some 4 million Americans. Officials are pointing the finger of blame at the China.

You might not know that Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin is the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus. He quickly released a statement about this latest incident, but look for him to use this incident to push for more legislation and administration practices.

Social media photo of the week

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine's 1st District Tweeted this picture of herself partaking in National Donut Day: