Trump hit a home run with consumer watchdog director choice

Trump hit a home run with consumer watchdog director choice
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The foundation of government service requires adept, nimble thinking that is in tune with what is best for the public and the country. Whether working in Congress, the Department of Homeland Security or the Office of Management and Budget, level-headedness, critical thinking and an ability to understand complicated issues are key.   

With more than two decades of government service in various roles under her belt, Kathy Kraninger has the foundational skills to serve as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) — but her qualifications to lead such an important agency don’t stop there.  

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As she currently oversees $250 billion in federal tax dollars, Kraninger understands how to direct resources where they are most needed to best serve the American public and when to leave those resources in the hands of taxpayers rather than allow the bureaucracy to waste them.

 

In her current role, she is responsible for the budget and policy management of seven cabinet departments and more than two dozen federal agencies and bureaus, including those overseeing financial regulation. With these responsibilities comes the need to understand what each department or agency does, focuses on and requires.  

As a manager, she has led teams of professional civil servants tackling complex issues. As an attorney and senior government policy official, she understands that when an agency regulates, it must adhere strictly to the limits of its statutory powers, comply with administrative procedures that emphasize transparency and public input and ensure that the benefits of regulatory action exceed the costs and are properly analyzed.

While responsibility for consumer finance at various government agencies and programs is only a part of her current job, Kraninger has shown that she can move between complex issues with ease, going from government oversight to homeland security to transportation to budget management during her career. With this diverse background, she will bring a fresh perspective and a new thinking to the bureau. 

It would be a disservice to the American people to discount Kraninger’s ability to guide the future path of the bureau just because her background doesn’t exactly match up with what people expected. Government works best when it draws on people of diverse backgrounds, bringing unique perspectives that help create well-rounded policy.

The president didn’t nominate some random person off the street. He nominated an accomplished public servant with a keen understanding of leadership, the ability to master complex public policy issues and the judgment to ensure that consumers’ best interests are paramount in the agency’s work.

Arguments that she doesn’t have the necessary expertise are unfounded and wrong-headed. Not only does this ignore her accomplishments and proven ability to lead, but it shows a lack of understanding as to what this position really needs. 

She won’t need on-the-job training because she fully understands what the bureau does, but Kathy will take the time to determine the actual priority issues that will require attention from her own objective point of view.

This preparation would be expected of anyone stepping into the role, no matter the individual’s background, and will only make the bureau that much more responsible and beneficial in the long-term. And, as it is no longer a new agency experiencing growing pains, the bureau would likely benefit from a fresh assessment. 

Kathy’s strong resume, bolstered by her long career in public service, make her the ideal candidate for this role. Leading the CFPB is an important job, which makes it all the more important to have the right person at the helm. Kathy Kraninger would be a perfect fit for the job. The Senate should move quickly to confirm her. 

Steve McMillin is a partner of U.S. Policy Metrics, an economic and public policy research firm, and formerly served as the deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from July 2006 to January 2009. Duncan Campbell is the president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association and has executive experience in both the private and public sectors. Both McMillin and Campbell have worked alongside Kraninger in the past.