Senate votes to advance Trump consumer bureau pick

The Senate voted Thursday to advance President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment MORE’s controversial pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) toward a final confirmation vote next week.

Senators voted 50-49, along party lines, to end debate on Kathy Kraninger’s nomination to be the next CFPB director, with no Democrats supporting her. Kraninger is likely to be confirmed next week after a contentious Senate floor debate over her selection.

Trump in June chose Kraninger, an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to lead the CFPB. Kraninger’s boss, OMB Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump asks Mulvaney to leave room during ABC interview due to coughing Trump asks Mulvaney to leave room during ABC interview due to coughing GOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown MORE, has served as the CFPB’s acting chief for a year as of Tuesday.

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Kraninger is on track to get a five-year term leading the consumer watchdog agency with broad independence and power to police to financial sector. She’s pledged to make the agency less costly and burdensome on the firms it oversees, but has shed little light on her agenda.

Kraninger is a little-known budget official that oversaw policy implementation at several Cabinet departments, including the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. Her selection to lead a financial regulatory agency surprised bureau-watchers who had expected a more familiar figure.

Democrats have seized on her connections to Mulvaney, who has drastically restrained the CFPB’s legal actions, and her lack of apparent experience with financial regulation. Liberal critics also blasted her for the Trump administration’s family separation policy, which was carried out by departments under her watch at OMB.

Kraninger said that she had "no role in setting" the zero tolerance immigration policy, but declined to explain her role in implementing it. 

“She has no experience in banking or finance or consumer protection," said Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownCongress can defend against Russia by outlawing anonymous shell companies Democrats ask Fed to probe Trump's Deutsche Bank ties Democrats ask Fed to probe Trump's Deutsche Bank ties MORE (D-Ohio) of Kraninger, his former intern, in a Thursday speech. "Her one and only qualification: She will be a rubber stamp for special interests.”

Senate Democrats are expected to lay into Kraninger in a series of floor speeches leading to the final vote, but  Kraninger appears to be safe for confirmation despite unanimous Democratic opposition.

Republicans quickly united around Kraninger as Mulvaney privately rallied their support, touting her as the ideal manager to reign in the CFPB.

The GOP and financial sector advocates say the CFPB had overstepped its mandate and abused its power under Democratic leadership, while Democrats accuse Republicans of gutting the agency to protect shady lenders.