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 TrumpSanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown Laura Ingraham 'not saying' if she'd support Trump in 2024 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement 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 CrapoAlabama GOP gears up for fierce Senate primary clash Senate Republicans call on Biden to lift vaccine mandate for truckers crossing Canadian border GOP ramps up attacks on SALT deduction provision 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 WarrenThe Memo: 2024 chatter reveals Democratic nervousness We are America's independent contractors, and we are terrified Fed's Brainard faces GOP pressure on climate stances 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 SessionsPress: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Those predicting Facebook's demise are blowing smoke If bitcoin is 'digital gold,' it should be taxed like gold 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 BrownDemocrats see good chance of Garland prosecuting Trump On the Money — Student borrowers stare down rising prices Biden selects Sarah Bloom Raskin, two others for Fed board 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 RoundsMike RoundsSome in GOP begin testing party's lockstep loyalty to Trump Trump to make election claims center stage in Arizona Fed's Brainard faces GOP pressure on climate stances MORE (R-S.D.),  using an acronym preferred by Acting CFPB Director Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyTrump's relocation of the Bureau of Land Management was part of a familiar Republican playbook Jan. 6 committee issues latest round of subpoenas for rally organizers The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - To vote or not? Pelosi faces infrastructure decision 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 MastoOvernight Energy & Environment — Lummis holds up Biden EPA picks Dems block Cruz's Nord Stream 2 sanctions bill Vulnerable Senate Democrats see massive fundraising hauls in last quarter of 2021 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) TesterDemocrats' filibuster gambit unravels Biden: 'I don't know whether we can get this done' Biden to huddle with Senate Democrats as voting bill on brink of defeat 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.