Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has wisely cut the traditional month-long August recess to one week in retaliation for the Democrat’s “slow-walking” a slate of judicial nominations. This is unnecessarily dragging nomination confirmation hearings out as long as possible and forcing multiple votes on the majority of them. Confirmation of nominees is all but guaranteed though, thanks to former Senate leader Harry Reid, who changed the Senate rules in 2014 to eliminate the filibuster on judicial nominations. McConnell sends his thanks.
One nomination that will most likely be contentious is that of Kathy Kraninger for Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) Director. Her nomination hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, where she promised to continue the policies of Mick Mulvaney, already featured sharp exchanges between Senators and Kraninger. As detailed here, here, and here, Mr. Mulvaney has, in a short time, refocused the agency on addressing actual major instances of fraud, and clearing out costly backlogs and investigations on good-faith businesses and customers. This leadership has shown the agency will no longer act to impose new and costly regulations on small banks, credit unions, and small businesses.
Opposition to Kraninger has reached such a fever pitch that a friend reports receiving a mailer accusing her of being responsible for separating children from their families at the border—a bizarre claim since, as an official at the Office of Management and Budget, she has little direct role in immigration policy.
Democrats are likely to fight tooth and nail against Kraninger because the CFPB is one of the crown jewels of Obama’s legacy—arguably second only to Obamacare. It is also treated as the brainchild of leading progressives—and potential 2020 presidential candidates—Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker. In fact, it was Warren’s role in creating the CFPB that first brought her to national prominence.
Mulvaney has set the CFPB on the right track in a short time. Kraninger will likely continue the positive trends. And the Senate should confirm her as part of a busy August in D.C.
So CSPAN junkies – pop some popcorn, and get ready for some August fireworks.