Long the target of Republican ire, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will soon be run by the Republican president’s handpicked choice.
In what amounted to an anticlimactic vote in a nearly empty Senate chamber, the Senate, voting along party lines, voted Thursday to approve Kathy Kraninger as the next director of the CFPB.
Kraninger will replace Mick Mulvaney, who’s served as CFPB director on an interim basis since former CFPB Director Richard Cordray stepped down last year to unsuccessfully run for governor of Ohio.
Kraninger, who works closely with Mick Mulvaney in his other position as the director of the Office of Budget and Management, was nominated earlier this year by President Donald Trump.
After receiving strong negative reaction from Democrats in the Senate, Kraninger’s nomination was passed out of the Senate Banking Committee in August by a narrow margin.
Then, last week, the Senate voted 50-49 to close the debate on Kraninger and bring her nomination to a full vote.
And Thursday, Kraninger was approved as the next CFPB director by a 50-49 vote again, with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, casting the 50th and decisive vote to officially confirm Kraninger as CFPB director.
Kraninger will serve a five-year term as CFPB director, placing her in a position to dramatically reshape the bureau in that time. Mulvaney has already changed the bureau significantly, in terms of how it regulates and even the bureau’s name itself.
And now, Kraninger will be in charge of the bureau.
Kraninger has the support of 21 of the housing industry’s top groups, including the National Association of Realtors, the Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Home Builders, and the National Multifamily Housing Council, which recently asked Senate leadership to bring Kraninger’s nomination to a full vote.
In the immediate wake of the vote, NAR reemphasized its support for Kraninger.
“The National Association of Realtors applauds the Senate’s confirmation of Kathleen Kraninger to lead the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection – the agency tasked to ensure consumers’ financial interests are protected. America’s 1.3 million Realtors recognize the critical role the Bureau plays in maintaining the integrity of significant financial transactions like home purchases,” NAR Senior VP of Government Affairs Shannon McGahn said in a statement.
“Under Ms. Kraninger’s leadership, we believe the Bureau will properly protect consumers and support businesses that help more individuals achieve the American Dream of homeownership,” McGahn continued. “Ultimately, NAR is pleased to see Ms. Kraninger confirmed, and we look forward to working alongside the Bureau in our shared efforts to protect consumers, ensure compliance certainty in the marketplace and strengthen our nation’s housing industry.”
On the other hand, Kraninger’s confirmation was bemoaned by progressive groups.
“Kathy Kraninger has no record of consumer protection or holding big banks, predatory lenders, and other financial scammers accountable. She has repeatedly refused to answer even the most basic questions about her record or her views on pressing consumer financial issues. Rather than reward her with a promotion she does not deserve and is not qualified for, Senators should have refused her nomination,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.
The mission of the CFPB is far too important to be placed in the hands of someone who lacks candor and experience at such a fundamental level. Why did Republican Senators prioritize Kathy Kraninger’s confirmation during this lame-duck session of Congress when there are still so many unanswered questions about her qualifications and record? Political payback, plain and simple,” Frisch continued.
“These Senators have taken millions in campaign cash from the very industries regulated by the CFPB and they trust Kraninger’s commitment to continue Mick Mulvaney’s anti-consumer agenda,” Frisch concluded.