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Dozens of left-leaning groups urge Senate to reject consumer bureau nominee
Dozens of liberal organizations, civil rights groups and labor unions asked senators on Wednesday to reject President Trump's nominee to lead the consumer bureau over her connections to the administration's controversial immigration policies.
In a letter to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, 57 groups urged senators to oppose Kathy Kraninger's nomination to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The panel is expected to advance her nomination to the full Senate on Thursday.
The groups say Kraninger, an associate director at the White House Office of Budget and Management (OMB), is unfit to lead the financial regulator because of her ties to Trump's zero-tolerance immigration policy that led to the separation of thousands of migrant families at the U.S. border.
"Either Ms. Kraninger failed terribly at her job, putting the wellbeing and lives of thousands of children in danger, or, even more concerning, she purposefully sought to run an ineffective, cruel process in order to punish children and/or their parents, in which case she lacks the moral sense or standing to hold a government position," the groups wrote. "In either case, her nomination should be rejected."
Kraninger oversees seven federal departments at OMB, including the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security, which administered the "Zero Tolerance" policy that mandated the separation of migrant children from their parents.
The letter's signatories include several liberal organizations -- Center for American Progress, Allied Progress, Consumer Action and Indivisible -- that have broadly opposed the GOP financial deregulation agenda.
The groups also include several civil rights and immigration rights organizations --including the NAACP, National Immigration Law Center, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and United We Dream -- that have protested the Trump administration's border policy.
Labor groups such as the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) also signed onto the letter.
"A vote to advance Ms. Kraninger's nomination to head the CFPB is a vote to approve or excuse the conduct of one of the central figures in the family separation debacle thus minimizing the extent of this harmful and cruel policy," the groups wrote.
Democrats highlighted Kraninger's connection to the immigration policy during her confirmation hearing and through records requests. She infuriated Democrats by declining to explain the extent of her work on the policy or whether she approved of it.
Kraninger is likely to be confirmed along party lines. Republicans have praised her experience, and she was endorsed by Acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney, who's also her boss at OMB.
Kraninger has no apparent record of crafting or enforcing financial regulations, and has not shed much light on her agenda for the CFPB. She has signaled support for Mulvaney's rollback of CFPB powers, but did not answer questions on how she would change the agency.
The White House, GOP senators and financial sector lobbying groups say Kraninger is a skilled manager with ample experience. Groups that are critical of the CFPB and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law say the agency wields too much power over the financial sector and independence from Congress.
Democrats have voiced concerns about Kraninger's ties to Mulvaney and her embrace of his efforts to restrain the bureau's spending, regulatory reach and crackdowns on lenders suspected of fraud or abuse.