In a narrow vote today, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee approved the nomination of Kathy Kraninger as the next director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP). The final vote was 13 in favor of the nomination and 12 opposed.
Prior to the vote, several senators elected to make statements about the nomination. For the most part, the senators who chose to make a statement were ones who voted against the nomination. Most of the statements focused on Ms. Kraninger's lack of experience in consumer finance, her tight-lipped non-responses to the senators' questions during her confirmation hearing, and how the current direction of the BCFP will harm consumers.
With the Committee's approval of the nomination, Ms. Kraninger will face a full Senate vote to determine whether she will get the role.
While this was a close vote, the outcome comes as no surprise. Ms. Kraninger's nomiation has been a hot button issue since it was annouced, but the Committee voted squarely along party lines. The big question is whether Ms. Kraninger's nomination will pass in the full Senate. Currently, Republicans hold the majority in the Senate by a very close margin. It is uncertain if the tide will change with the upcoming election in November, but Ms. Kraninger's path toward directorship will likely be affected by it, as some have predicted that a vote will likely not be scheduled in the immediate future.
If the Senate does not vote on her nomination during the current Congressional Session, Trump would have to re-nominate her (or someone else), and a new confirmation hearing would have to be held. Acting Director Mulvaney is essentially allowed to continue to serve as long as a nomination is pending.
Meanwhile, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for debt collection is currently scheduled to be released in March 2019. It had seemed likely that a new Director would be overseeing that release, but at this point it's anyone's guess whose leadership stamp will be on that NPR. Notably, at the time the rulemaking schedule was updated (mid-May 2018), it was widely expected that Trump would nominate J. Mark McWatters, the current chairman of the National Credit Union Administration, to be the permanent Bureau Director. That fell apart, and then it seemed Todd Zywicki, a law professor at George Mason University with deep experience in financial services regulation, was the front runner -- until, apparently out of nowhere, Kathy Kraninger emerged.