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Trump to nominate budget official as next consumer bureau chief

Trump to nominate budget official as next consumer bureau chief
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE will nominate Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official Kathy Kraninger to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the White House said Saturday.

White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters confirmed Trump’s choice of Kraninger, an associate director at OMB, in a Saturday statement.

Kraninger would take the reins of the politically polarizing consumer watchdog agency that Republicans have long fought to weaken. 

Walters said the little-known budget official “will bring a fresh perspective and much-needed management experience to the [bureau], which has been plagued by excessive spending, dysfunctional operations, and politicized agendas."

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Kraninger would replace White House budget director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOn The Money: Mnuchin pulls out of Saudi summit | Consumer bureau to probe controversial blog posts on race | Harris proposes new middle-class tax credit Consumer bureau to probe top Trump official's past racial comments On The Money: Deficit hits six-year high of 9 billion | Yellen says Trump attacks threaten Fed | Affordable housing set for spotlight in 2020 race MORE, the OMB chief who has served as the CFPB’s acting director since November. Trump's decision to nominate Kraninger was first reported by Bloomberg.

While she has little apparent experience with financial regulation, the White House said Kraninger is "a staunch supporter of free enterprise" that will "ensure that consumers and markets are not harmed by fraudulent actors.

Kraninger is seen as a politically safe choice who would continue to ease the CFPB’s policing of the financial services industry. Even so, she will likely to face a lengthy confirmation process as the Senate sprints to finish must-pass legislation and approve a slew of federal judges before November's midterm elections.

Mulvaney's term as acting CFPB director ends Thursday, but he is allowed under federal personnel rules to lead the bureau until the his successor's confirmation. The acting chief is expected to stay at the CFPB for several months longer as the Senate mulls Kraninger's nomination.

If confirmed, Kraninger will serve a five-year term as CFPB director, armed with broad authority over the bureau's regulation and oversight of U.S. banks, lenders and financial services companies.

Republicans have tried to upend the powerful agency created by the Dodd-Frank Act to snuff out predatory lending and abusive financial products.

The CFPB was the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOn The Money: Mnuchin pulls out of Saudi summit | Consumer bureau to probe controversial blog posts on race | Harris proposes new middle-class tax credit Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump says GOP will support pre-existing condition protections | McConnell defends ObamaCare lawsuit | Dems raise new questions for HHS on child separations Booker holds 'Get Out the Vote' event in South Carolina as presidential speculation builds MORE (D-Mass.), designed to be an imposing and independent watchdog armed with extensive regulatory and enforcement power.

Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayDems go on offense against GOP lawsuit on pre-existing conditions Trump attacks Democrat in Ohio governor's race Election Countdown: Minnesota Dems worry Ellison allegations could cost them key race | Dems struggle to mobilize Latino voters | Takeaways from Tennessee Senate debate | Poll puts Cruz up 9 in Texas MORE, the former Ohio attorney general who served as the bureau’s first director, delighted Democrats and enraged Republicans with his aggressive oversight of the financial sector.

The CFPB became vulnerable to Republicans for the first time when Cordray resigned in November 2017 to run for Ohio governor. Cordray’s departure allowed Trump to appoint Mulvaney, the White House budget director, as acting CFPB chief.

Kraninger's nomination won praise from financial services lobbyists that wanted Trump to choose a moderate manager to lead the bureau.

Richard Hunt, president and CEO of the Consumer Bankers of America, said Kraninger is "an experienced manager, has the necessary budgetary knowledge, and can serve as a steady hand shepherding the Bureau."

“The Bureau has been a political pawn for too long," Hunt said.

Liberal nonprofits that were aligned with the CFPB under Cordray blasted Kraninger's nomination as power grab by Mulvaney.

“This is nothing more than a desperate attempt by Mick Mulvaney to maintain his grip on the CFPB, so he can continue undermining its important consumer protection mission on behalf of the powerful Wall Street special interests and predatory lenders that have bankrolled his career,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.

Updated at 6:12 p.m.