On November 27, 2018, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) issued a letter to her fellow senators strongly urging them to vote against the nomination of Kathy Kraninger as the next Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP or Bureau). The letter comes on the eve of the Kraninger vote, which is expected to occur in the very near future. Congress.gov also states that the floor debate on Kraninger is to occur today (or, if not today, sometime in the near future).
In the seven-page long letter (eleven pages with citations), Sen. Warren issues a warning to the Senators that Kraninger would continue the work of Acting Director Mick Mulvaney -- evidenced by her prior endorsement of Mulvaney’s work -- and would “defang the consumer watchdog.” Sen. Warren accuses Mulvaney of:
- Drastically slowing and, in some cases, stopping the Bureau’s enforcement of consumer protection laws.
- Turning the Bureau into a “partisan, biased regulator, benefitting his campaign donors and political cronies at the expense of consumers.”
- Making it easier for corporations to cheat consumers by “decimating the BCFP’s resources and enforcement tools.”
- Dismantling civil rights protections while promoting a political appointee “with a history of racially provocative statements.”
Sen. Warren also states that Kraninger’s own record at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) “demonstrates that she is unfit to lead the [BCFP].” This portion of the letter points to Kraninger’s lack of experience with consumer finance and protection issues, issues with border protection and separation of children from their parents when crossing the border, and issues related to OMB’s responses to hurricanes in 2017.
During today's Senate floor proceeding, Sen. Warren reitterated many of the concerns addressed in her letter. During the floor proceeding, Sen. Warren stated that American families "deserve a fighter" leading the Bureau and that Kraninger "is not that person."
Update 5:44 PM EST: In a 50-49 vote today, the Senate voted affirmatively on the cloture motion introduced by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on November 15. An affirmative cloture vote places several procedural requirements on the Senate, designed to bring a visible end the debate on the issue and makes the vote imminent. Cloture procedures allow 30 additional hours of debate.
Sen. Warren’s disapproval of Kraninger’s nomination is nothing new. Back in July, Sen. Warren released a reported entitled Record of Failure; Kathy Kraninger’s Disastrous Tenure at the Office of Management and Budget. Following Kraninger’s confirmation hearing, Sen. Warren submitted ten pages worth of questions for the record to Kraninger.
With a Republican majority, however, Sen. Warren’s plea may not have much impact. Despite Sen. Warren’s advocacy against Kraninger, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee voted squarely along party lines to approve Kraninger’s nomination. If the full Senate likewise votes along party lines, Kraninger will be the next Director of the Bureau.