Senate Committee Advances Kraninger’s Nomination to Lead CFPB

The president’s nominee to permanently replace Mick Mulvaney at the top of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau cleared one major hurdle on Thursday, receiving confirmation by the Senate Banking Committee.

Kathy Kraninger narrowly made it through the first step of her confirmation process, gaining the committee’s approval with a 13-12 vote split evenly down party lines, according to the Los Angeles Times and other publications.

Kraninger’s nomination has proven to be the most recent controversy surrounding the CFPB, which Mulvaney has led on an acting basis since the November 2017 resignation of Richard Cordray. The current nominee worked under Mulvaney at the Office of Management and Budget — which the acting director also continues to lead concurrently — but remained relatively unknown in Washington until her CFPB nomination.

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Senate Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, opposed Kraninger’s nomination over her potential involvement with setting and overseeing the Trump administration’s current hard-line immigration policies while at OMB. Republicans, meanwhile, generally supported the president’s pick, foreseeing a continuation of Mulvaney’s regulatory rollbacks at the CFPB.

“Personally, I think Ms. Kraninger will do a good job of trying to rein in … an agency that needs to be reined in,” Sen. Mike Rounds, a South Dakota Republican, said, according to the Times.

If confirmed, Kraninger would be the CFPB’s first permanent leader since Cordray left to pursue the Ohio governorship last year. Mulvaney replaced her on an acting basis over the objections of deputy director Leandra English, who pursued legal remedies in an attempt to assume the director’s chair.

Mulvaney has since embarked on an aggressive plan to ease up on the bureau’s oversight of the financial industry, including declining funding from the Federal Reserve and seeking in-depth comment from both the public and the business community over its practices.

The acting director offered his full support of Kraninger in a statement released around the time of her nomination.

“I have never worked with a more qualified individual than Kathy,” Mulvaney said. “Her commitment to the law, to protecting consumers, and to defending what works in our vibrant financial services sector — all while respecting hard-working taxpayers who pay their bills and play by the rules — ensures that the bureau will be in good hands throughout her term.”

The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Administration generally serve as the final arbiters of regulations in the federally backed reverse mortgage program, but the CFPB has also thrown its hat in the ring since its creation in the wake of the financial crisis at the turn of the decade.

Kraninger must still be confirmed by the full Senate before taking over for Mulvaney.

Written by Alex Spanko