Senate approves Kathy Kraninger as new head of CFPB

The Senate on Thursday approved Kathy Kraninger, a White House official, as the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), along 50-to-49 partisan lines after a bitter political battle.

Kraninger, who previously worked for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), will succeed acting director Mick Mulvaney, who also happens to be her boss (he previously served as both OMB director and acting director of the CFPB).

Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., hammered Kraninger as a danger to everyday consumers -- but cast her as a powerful ally to “cheating companies.”

The CFPB, created after the 2008 financial recession as part of the Dodd-Frank act, aims to protect consumers from financial malpractice. It was designed to be an independent agency tasked with going after wrongdoing by banks, credit card companies and other financial services.

Republican lawmakers, however, have criticized the bureau as an example of government overreach and vowed to abolish it. Last year, Trump named Mulvaney, who once described the bureau as a “sad, sick joke,” to the interim director post.

The CFPB director is appointed to a five-year term and cannot be removed from the job except by the president under extraordinary circumstances. That means that Kraninger could stay in the position through 2023, if she serves her full term, no matter who wins the 2020 presidential race.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.