Dems press Trump consumer bureau pick over Puerto Rico response

Dems press Trump consumer bureau pick over Puerto Rico response
© Greg Nash

A group of Senate Democrats is pressing President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE's pick to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for "a full accounting" of her role in the administration's response to Hurricane Maria, which ravaged Puerto Rico last year.

Four Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee sent a letter Tuesday requesting the details from Kathy Kraninger, the current associate director for general government at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), whom Trump nominated last month to lead the consumer bureau.

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The letter outlined Kraninger’s role at the OMB overseeing policy implementation and providing management guidance to several Cabinet agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Treasury Department.

The senators noted that "in the aftermath of major disasters, OMB plays an integral role in the analysis of needs, and formulation of disaster supplemental appropriations requests to Congress and any related policies."

The senators have requested full details concerning Kraninger’s role in carrying out the administration’s agenda in Puerto Rico last year, including a list of all meetings she was involved with concerning “disaster supplemental appropriation requests to Congress,” including the topics discussed and the other attendees.

The Democrats also requested emails and documents from Kraninger concerning communication with DHS, Treasury and HUD officials related to supplemental appropriation requests, as well as documentation of her communication with Puerto Rican government officials, employees and consultants surrounding the Hurricane Maria response.

Kraninger has until July 16 to provide the requested documents.

The letter was led by Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThe job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' Senate passes legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters Graham blocks resolution recognizing Armenian genocide after Erdoğan meeting MORE (D-N.J.), a member of the Banking Committee, and was signed by Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownLawmakers battle over future of Ex-Im Bank Hillicon Valley: Senate Dems unveil privacy bill | Trump campaign, RNC rip Google political ad policy | Activists form national coalition to take on Amazon | Commerce issues rule to secure communications supply chain Warren, Brown call for greater enforcement of fair lending laws after Goldman gender discrimination allegations MORE (Ohio), the panel's top Democrat, as well as Democratic Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGabbard moves to New Hampshire ahead of primary LGBTQ advocates slam Buttigieg for past history with Salvation Army Saagar Enjeti unpacks why Kamala Harris's campaign didn't work MORE (Mass.) and Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoDemocrats challenge South Carolina law requiring voters to disclose Social Security numbers Bicameral group of Democrats introduces bill to protect immigrant laborers House and Senate Dems implore McConnell to sign DACA legislation to protect 'Dreamers' MORE (Nev.).

The panel has scheduled a July 19 hearing on Kraninger's nomination to lead the CFPB.

The Democrats' letter bashes the Trump administration’s response in Puerto Rico after the hurricane, calling it “botched and incompetent.” It also compares the administration’s actions on the island with its hurricane response in Texas and Florida.

“Moreover, an examination of the Administration’s response to other recent disasters suggests member of this Administration undertook a deliberate recalibration of disaster relief efforts when faced with Hurricane Maria,” the senators wrote.

The senators also slammed how the administration approached providing aid on the island, claiming officials viewed it as a "political opportunity."

"Instead of immediately deploying aid to make permanent repairs on the island, the Administration reportedly pressured Puerto Governor Ricardo Rosselló to agree to an experimental funding formula that would leave Puerto Rico on the hook for cost overages of any projects,” the senators wrote. “No such requirement exists for Texas or Florida.”

“The American public, including the 3.5 million American citizens living in Puerto Rico, deserve to know why this Administration chose a path of deliberate indifference to the plight of Hurricane Maria survivors,” the senators continued.

Menendez led another Senate letter about two weeks ago to the Federal Emergency Management Agency requesting the agency extend temporary housing for victims in Puerto Rico.