The process for establishing Kathleen Kraninger as the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took another sharply, politically divided step forward on Thursday as the Senate barely approved invoking cloture to end debate about her nomination.
Composition of the 50-49 tally included Republicans constituting all approval votes and all Democrats and the Senate’s lone independent making up all of the down votes.
The Senate will vote one final time to decide if Kraninger will replace Mick Mulvaney, who first took control of the CFPB on an interim basis after being appointed by President Trump and has been in place for about two years.
More than a week before the Senate took this latest action, the American Financial Services Association urged the chamber’s leadership to vote to install Kraninger as director. In this letter written to Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen. Chuck Schumer, AFSA president-elect Bill Himpler emphasized that Kraninger is “an excellent choice” to lead the CFPB.
“Ms. Kraninger is an excellent choice to lead the bureau and to continue Mr. Mulvaney’s pragmatic, measured approach to ensuring that consumers benefit from safe, affordable products provided by the most responsible members of the consumer credit industry,” Himpler wrote.
“Since its inception, the (bureau) has had extraordinary authority over all facets of the consumer credit industry. The director of the bureau needs to ensure certainty, fairness and transparency. Kathy Kraninger will be a strong and effective leader for the (bureau), and I encourage you to act quickly to confirm her nomination as director,” Himpler went on to write.
Reflecting the distinct divide over Kraninger’s nomination, two Democrats made passionate pleas to stop the process, including Sen. Sherrod Brown, who along with Kraninger hails from Ohio. Brown recollected when Kraninger faced questions from lawmakers during a hearing back in July.
“We asked Ms. Kraninger whose side she would be on if she were the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Would she be on Wall Street’s and Mick Mulvaney’s side, or would she fight for workers, and servicemembers, and students and seniors? It’s one of the few questions she did answer,” Brown said on the Senate floor ahead of Thursday’s vote.
“She said — I’m quoting her — ‘I cannot identify any actions that Acting Director Mulvaney has taken with which I disagree.’ We know exactly whose side Ms. Kraninger is on,” Brown continued. “She’s with Mick Mulvaney, she’s with Wall Street, she’s with the payday lenders, she’s with the special interests.
“She is not on the side of the millions Americans, and her neighbors in Ohio, who lost their homes and their jobs and their retirement savings to Wall Street greed,” Brown went on to say. “She is not on the side of people who work for a living; she is on the side of big corporations collecting a tax break to send American jobs overseas.
“Ms. Kraninger has no experience in banking, or finance, or consumer protection. Her one and only qualification is that she will be a rubber stamp for special interests. That is unconscionable,” Brown added.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Nevada Democrat, also stanchly opposed the nomination ahead of Thursday’s vote, tying the actions to the White House.
“Like many of President Trump’s nominees, Kraninger seems handpicked to undermine the agency’s mission,” Cortez Masto said. “As a faithful disciple of Mick Mulvaney, the architect behind this administration’s plan to destroy the CFPB from the inside out, Kraninger will continue crippling its power to protect American consumers.
“The next director of the CFPB will be called upon to make a choice, to stand aside and allow powerful special interests to call the shots in our country’s financial system, or to fight for families who want a fair and affordable loan to buy a car, home or college education for their children; a bank account and credit card without costly fees; or who are simply trying to make ends meet,” Cortez Masto continued.
“Kathy Kraninger can’t be relied upon to make the right choice,” Cortez Masto went on to say.