Kraninger Stands Tall During Confirmation Hearing

It was at about the 30-minute mark of Kathy Kraninger’s confirmation hearing be the next director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection in front of the Senate Banking Committee where I noted to myself that what I was watching wasn’t a hearing, it was a game of dodgeball. Kraninger had mastered the five D’s of dodgeball – dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge. And then — near the end of the hearing, when she was questioning Kraninger — Sen. Elizabeth Warren [D-Mass.], stole my line.

“The director needs to be someone who is willing to stand up to powerful people on behalf of someone who has no power,” Sen. Warren told Kraninger, who had effectively evaded question after question during her time in front of the panel. . “You’ve given lawyerly and limited answers. You’re dodging.”

Kathy Kraninger

Kraninger was being questioned alongside Kimberly Reed, who has been nominated to be the next president of the Export-Import Bank and the Senators could not have cared less about Reed.

During his question period, Sen. Jon Tester [D-Mont.], tried to reason with Kraninger’s refusals to share any of her opinions or stances on any of the issues being raised during the hearing.

“You’re going to be the head of this agency,” Sen. Tester said. “Your recommendations are going to count for something. I need to know where you are at.”

Kraninger refused to answer questions about her involvement in any of the policies that had been put into place by departments under her purview as an associate director of the White House Office of Management & Budget. When asked, she continually said it was not the proper setting for her to characterize any advice she may have given to those departments. She also refused to get into details about how she would achieve a proposed cut in the agency’s budget when questioned about it by Sen. Warren.

When asked about issues relevant to the responsibilities of being director of the BCFP, Kraninger appeared to share many of the same views of her current boss, Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the agency and the director of the White House OMB. While being questioned by Sen. Thom Tillis [R-Fla.], Kraninger said she would be “open to changes in the leadership structure in ways that will make the agency more accountable and transparent.”

Democrats on the committee latched on to Kraninger’s lack of experience in consumer protection in attempting to discredit her credentials to lead the agency and its 1,600 employees.

Kraninger also vowed to uphold the law as it is written, and said that she would not engage in a policy of regulation by enforcement, instead agreeing with Sen. Jerry Moran [R-Kan.], that “it is critical to have clear rules so the lenders and creditors and consumers know wha the rules are,” she said. “Nobody wants to be told after the fact that they broke a rule.”

The Banking Committee will likely vote on Kraninger’s nomination the week of July 31, Sen. Mike Crapo [R-Idaho], the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee announced during the hearing. If approved by the committee, Kraninger’s nomination would then be voted on by the entire Senate for confirmation.


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