Senate panel delays vote on Trump consumer watchdog pick


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Senate panel on Wednesday postponed a vote to confirm President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. consumer watchdog following an effort by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren to get more details on the nominee’s role in immigration matters and other policy areas.

FILE PHOTO: Kathleen Laura Kraninger testifies before a Senate Banking Committee hearing on her nomination to be director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 19, 2018. REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski/File Photo

In a letter to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, Warren asked the panel to postpone Thursday’s scheduled vote to advance the nomination of Kathy Kraninger as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) until she had provided more detailed answers to Warren and other Democrats.

Later on Wednesday, Crapo said in a statement the hearing would be postponed, but did not confirm whether Warren’s letter was the sole impetus.

“An update will be sent when a new date has been scheduled,” the statement said.

The CFPB was formed in 2011 under former Democratic President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis to look out for the interests of ordinary borrowers.

The letter marked another step by Warren, a consumer advocate, to ramp up pressure on Kraninger, a senior official at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and rally ‘no’ votes in the Senate against her confirmation.

Kraninger and the OMB did not respond to requests for comment.

Warren, Sherrod Brown and other Senate Democrats asked Kraninger last week for more details on the role she played in the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that separated more than 2,000 children from their parents.

They also asked Kraninger to provide more information on her position on a range of consumer finance issues.

During her nomination hearing last month, Kraninger told the committee she had no role in setting or developing the immigration policy but that she had attended meetings relating to its implementation.

Warren and Brown have twice written to Kraninger asking her to clarify the exact nature of her role, including a list of those meetings and who else attended.

Kraninger provided responses to the committee on Tuesday, but Warren said in Wednesday’s letter that the answers were not sufficiently detailed and that Kraninger had failed to hand over relevant documents.

Senate Republicans have said the CFPB has overstepped its legal powers and are hoping Kraninger, who would take over from interim chief Mick Mulvaney, will continue to rein in the agency.

Reporting by Katanga Johnson; Editing by Michelle Price and Peter Cooney

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