Senate panel narrowly approves Trump consumer bureau pick

Senate panel narrowly approves Trump consumer bureau pick
© Anna Moneymaker

A Senate panel on Thursday voted along party lines to approve Kathy Kraninger, President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE’s nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

All 13 Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee voted to recommend the confirmation of Kraninger to lead the polarizing financial regulator for a five-year term, while all 12 Democrats opposed her.

“Given her depth and diversity of public sector experience, I have the confidence that she is well prepared to lead the bureau,” said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoHillicon Valley: Trump signs off on sanctions for election meddlers | Russian hacker pleads guilty over botnet | Reddit bans QAnon forum | FCC delays review of T-Mobile, Sprint merger | EU approves controversial copyright law Trump authorizes sanctions against foreign governments that interfere in US elections Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke MORE (R-Idaho).

Kraninger, an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget, is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate’s slim Republican majority before the end of 2018. Democrats have fiercely opposed her nomination and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenMore Massachusetts Voters Prefer Deval Patrick for President than Elizabeth Warren Trump's trade war — firing all cannons or closing the portholes? Poll: Most Massachusetts voters don't think Warren should run for president in 2020 MORE (D-Mass.) has pledged to block it.

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Democrats have blasted Kraninger over her lack of direct experience with financial regulation and her connections to the Trump administration’s controversial family separation border policy.

Kraninger oversaw policy implementation at the departments of Justice and Homeland Security that  carried out the border separation directive issued by the Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump vows to get rid of 'stench' at DOJ, FBI NY Times, McCabe give Trump perfect cover to fire Rosenstein, Sessions House Judiciary on NY Times article: I intend to subpoena 'McCabe Memos' MORE in April. She’s refused to answer questions about her role in developing the policy or whether she supports it.

“As an American, as a parent, as a human being, I don’t know how you can’t be horrified by this,” said Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSherrod Brown says he's 'not actively considering' running for president Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens MORE (Ohio), the committee’s ranking Democrat. “But Kraninger hasn’t offered a word of criticism about her or her boss’s part in this catastrophe.”

“Make sure that this person who refused to oppose, acknowledge, or apologize for this disaster does not get a promotion,” Brown said.

Republicans, the White House and financial sector advocates have touted Kraninger as a skilled manager with ample experience to right the path of what they consider a rogue and wasteful agency.

“The BCFP has morphed into an unaccountable regulatory agency run by unelected bureaucrats who have very little oversight from Congress,” said Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsOn The Money: Treasury rules target blue-state workarounds to tax law | Senate approves sweeping defense, domestic spending bill | US imposes B in tariffs on Chinese goods | Panel narrowly approves consumer bureau pick Senate panel narrowly approves Trump consumer bureau pick GOP sen: Sessions is ‘the right man for the job’ MORE (R-S.D.),  using an acronym preferred by Acting CFPB Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyProtect the Military Lending Act On The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Warren suggests Mulvaney broke law by speaking to GOP donors MORE.

“I’m confident that she will help us make progress in reforming this agency.”

But Democrats insist that Kraninger’s high-level role in the Trump administration border separation policy and highly criticized response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico undercut that argument.

“If she was so proud of her actions, why wouldn’t she describe them? If she wasn’t involved in those issues, why wouldn’t she say so?” Warren said.

“She’s refusing to describe her role in two very public management failures because she knows it would destroy the case for her nomination.”

Kraninger is expected to follow through on Mulvaney’s efforts to pull back the bureau’s power, cut its spending and ease its oversight of the financial sector.

Mulvaney, who also serves OMB director, has endorsed Kraninger’s nomination and has rallied GOP senators behind his budget office deputy. His efforts have helped endear her to Republicans eager to restrain the bureau while alienating her from Democrats committed to protecting it.

“My concern is she’s going to carry out the same role that Mick Mulvaney wants her to do, and that to me is no protection for consumers across the country,” said Sen. Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoSenate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh Ten years later: Wounds run deep from 2008 crash Attorneys general races in spotlight as parties build bench, fight feds MORE (D-Nev.).

Kraninger has shared little about her plans for the CFPB beyond a general endorsement of Mulvaney’s actions

“I don’t expect any candidate to believe 100 percent with what I believe in,” said Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterMontana lawmakers cheer recommendation to ban mining north of Yellowstone Cook Political Report moves Texas Senate race to ‘toss-up’ Trump Jr. campaign event looks for new venue after Montana restaurant declines to host MORE (D-Mont.), “but I don’t remember her answering one question that I asked.”

“My concern is that if we confirm Ms. Kraninger, she will do nothing, just as she answered none of my questions in this committee hearing,” Tester said. “It will be, in fact, an inactive organization that will do nothing to protect student, military people or seniors.”

The committee also approved the nomination of Kimberly Reed to be president of the Export-Import Bank by a 25-0 vote, and the nominations of Elad Roisman to be a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Michael Bright to be president of the Government National Mortgage Association, Rae Oliver to be inspector general at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Dino Falaschetti to be director of the Office of Financial Research by voice votes.