Senate Set to Move Ahead on Kraninger Nomination for CFPB Director

Kathleen Kraninger moved one step closer to leading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Thursday in a narrow vote of the Senate. The 50-49 vote in favor of ending debate on her nomination clears the way for a full confirmation vote sometime within the next five days.

The matter of CFPB’s leadership is of particular interest to the reverse mortgage industry due to the Bureau’s intended mission of oversight concerning financial institutions, which includes regulating the activity in both forward and reverse mortgage-servicing and lending operations.

Current acting director Mick Mulvaney also serves simultaneously as the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and is expected to continue serving in that position when his successor at the CFPB is confirmed.

Kraninger has been serving as program associate director for General Government in the OMB since March of 2017, and was nominated by President Donald Trump to become the new CFPB Director in June of 2018. In her current role, she oversees $250 billion in budgetary resources for 30 other federal agencies, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the CFPB itself.

She has the support of Senate Republicans, many of whom cite her experience in both public service and management as reasons for her nomination to proceed through to confirmation. Senate Democrats – including some moderates – oppose advancing her nomination.

Earlier this week, Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) President and CEO Richard Hunt sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), supporting the confirmation of a full-time Director for the Bureau while also repeating the organization’s stated belief that there is a need for changing the Bureau’s leadership structure to a bipartisan commission.

“While a Senate-confirmed Director will provide necessary leadership at the Bureau, the single director model lends itself to wide political swings,” Hunt wrote.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who originally proposed the creation of the CFPB in 2007 as a Harvard Law School professor, has gone on record stating her belief that Kraninger should be disqualified from consideration over her alleged support of the Trump Administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy during her time working in the OMB.

She issued a seven-page letter (with four additional pages of endnotes) on Tuesday urging her fellow Senators not to support her advancement to the Director position.

In spite of opposition from Democrats, however, the makeup of the current Senate would allow Kraninger to become CFPB director based on a simple majority vote, which would likely include all Senate Republicans. In the unlikely event that enough Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in opposing her confirmation, Vice President Mike Pence would almost certainly break a resulting tie in Kraninger’s favor to secure her term as the Bureau’s Director for five years.

The full confirmation vote is expected to take place no later than December 4, after Majority Leader McConnell decides the date of the vote in consultation with Minority Leader Schumer.

Written by Chris Clow

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