As the deficit grows, it is critical for officials to understand how to balance a budget, run programs efficiently and still produce results. When finding leaders to run the various departments and programs in our government, it is equally important to identify candidates who are fiscally responsible and able to grasp complex policy decisions.
Unsurprisingly, this can be hard to find, especially when the other skills and experiences expected of someone heading up a government agency are taken into account.
The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP), formerly the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was created to be a consumer watchdog but devolved into a one-sided regulatory behemoth. In picking the next director, strong leadership is critical for taming the regulatory beast and delivering a better value for taxpayers.
Since its inception in 2010, the BCFP has used dubious legal authority to advance its misguided agenda. In 2013, for instance, the bureau bequeathed broad powers to itself via an initiative called Operation Choke Point that lacked proper statutory authorization.
Along with the Department of Justice and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the BCFP discouraged financial institutions from offering services to businesses in industries deemed unfavorable to the government. After multiple wanton bank account terminations and other acts not disclosed to Congress, Republicans in Congress finally put an end to the “Operation” in 2017.
Similarly, a rule banning “mandatory arbitration” clauses and forcing consumers to go through lengthier, more costly legal proceedings was kiboshed in Congress (also in 2017) just a few months after the rule went on the books.
While Congress has had previous success in striking down onerous BCFP rules, a leader at the helm committed to rule of law would lead to less regulation to begin with. The nomination of Kathy Kraninger to serve as the director of BCFP is an encouraging step in this direction of regulatory and fiscal restraint.
President Trump has selected a well-rounded, qualified candidate who can deftly handle budgetary and policy issues with ease. As the BCFP enters its next stage of development, it is crucial to have someone who can balance taking action without overrunning resources.
In her current position with the Office Management and Budget, she handles the budget for the nearly three dozen cabinets, departments and federal agencies — which receive $250 billion in federal tax dollars. Importantly, this includes every federal office responsible for consumer finance. Her oversight of the budgetary needs of every federal program gives her insight into what these agencies require, prioritize and accomplish.
Through her work at OMB, she likely has also become aware of where unnecessary resources have been spent throughout the federal government. Running a federal agency on a leaner budget doesn’t have to dilute its main mission or restrict it from acting where needed, as some fearmongers have claimed. It just makes our government that much more efficient, which will keep the deficit from unnecessarily climbing.
Kraninger offers the unique constellation of traits needed to lead a federal bureau. Through her impressive career, she has proven she can work on complex issues, lead a team, and stick to a budget, attributes that will make her successful in this role.
The bureau — and consumers across the country — would benefit greatly from someone like her at the helm, especially as the BCFP enters a new frontier.
Putting political affiliation aside, there is no reason to oppose her nomination. Her resume and accomplishments prove she will get the job done. The Senate must confirm her to lead the BCFP before leaving for recess. We cannot risk letting such a qualified candidate go due to petty partisanship.