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Trump Makes Left-Field Selection to Run BCFP, Sets Up Battle With Congress

President Donald Trump has chosen who he wants to be the next director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and the selection — Kathy Kraninger — caught many by surprise.

Kraninger, who is the associate director at the White House Office of Management & Budget, would replace Mick Mulvaney, the acting director and the director of the Office of Management & Budget, if confirmed.

That confirmation process is likely to be rocky, given that Kraninger has no apparent background in financial regulation or consumer protection. Among the names circulated during the past few months, Kraninger’s name never made the short list, which included J. Mark McWatters, the chairman of the National Credit Union Administration, Todd Zywicki, a law professor at George Mason University, and Rep. Darrell Issa [R-Calif.].

The White House selected Kraninger because it “determined that problems with the bureau were mainly due to management issues,” according to a published report.

Mulvaney can remain acting director until Kraninger is confirmed by the Senate, a process that could take months. Mulvaney was named acting director last November after the resignation of Richard Cordray. His term as acting director could last up to 210 days, under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, the law that was used to install Mulvaney as acting director. The 210 days was set to expire on June 22.

The selection of Kraninger was spearheaded by Mulvaney, according to a published report.

“This looks like nothing more than a desperate attempt by Mick Mulvaney to maintain his grip on the CFPB so he can continue undermining its important consumer protection mission on behalf of the powerful Wall Street special interests and predatory lenders that have bankrolled his career,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress, a consumer group that has been critical of Mr. Mulvaney, according to the report.

One report likened Kraninger’s nomination to that of Harriet Miers, who was nominated to the Supreme Court in 2005 by then-President George W. Bush. Miers subsequently withdrew her name from consideration after Republicans and Democrats raised concerns over her lack of qualifications.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren [D-Mass.], one of the architects of the original Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, had not made any comment about Kraninger’s nomination, nor had any other prominent Democrats who might seek to keep Kraninger from being confirmed.

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