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 TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could 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 CrapoOn The Money: Lawmakers race to pass border deal | Trump rips 'stingy' Democrats, but says shutdown would be 'terrible' | Battle over contractor back pay | Banking panel kicks off data security talks Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers press officials on 2020 election security | T-Mobile, Sprint execs defend merger before Congress | Officials charge alleged Iranian spy | Senate panel kicks off talks on data security bill Senate Banking panel kicks off talks on data security bill 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 WarrenWarren's 'ultra wealth' tax is misleading Hillicon Valley: New York says goodbye to Amazon's HQ2 | AOC reacts: 'Anything is possible' | FTC pushes for record Facebook fine | Cyber threats to utilities on the rise O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation 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 SessionsMcCabe book: Sessions once said FBI was better off when it 'only hired Irishmen' Senate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general Rod Rosenstein’s final insult to Congress: Farewell time for reporters but not testimony 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 BrownShep Smith: Signing funding bill is a 'loss' for Trump no matter how it's packaged Exclusive: Biden almost certain to enter 2020 race Tim Ryan ‘seriously considering’ 2020 bid 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 RoundsGOP senator: Trump thinks funding deal is 'thin gruel' Lawmakers put Pentagon's cyber in their sights Endorsing Trump isn’t the easiest decision for some Republicans MORE (R-S.D.),  using an acronym preferred by Acting CFPB Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyPuerto Rico governor threatens legal action over national emergency declaration: 'See you in court' Trump to sign border deal, declare national emergency Trump touts deal as providing B for border security 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 MastoSchumer urging ex-congressional candidate Amy McGrath to run against McConnell Mark Kelly launches Senate bid in Arizona Former McCain chief of staff says he will not run for Senate in Arizona in 2020 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) TesterGOP braces for Trump's emergency declaration Border talks stall as another shutdown looms Mulvaney: Government shutdown on the table 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.