Did President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau approve the administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that has led to a wave of families being separated near the Southern border?
That is the question posed by Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to Kathy Kraninger, the program associate director at the Office of Management and Budget whose job includes policy implementation oversight for both the Justice Department and Homeland Security Department, according to the senators.
“In that role, you may have been involved in providing ‘policy and management guidance’ on the Zero-Tolerance Policy, helped implement the Zero-Tolerance Policy, and worked with DHS on budgetary and funding issues as it adjusted the Zero-Tolerance Policy,” Warren and Brown wrote in a letter to Kraninger dated Monday.
Brown is the ranking Democrat on the Banking Committee, which would process the Kraninger nomination to lead the consumer agency.
The position is being held on an acting basis by Kraninger’s current boss, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, and the formal nomination of Kraninger could be in part to allow Mulvaney to continue to act in that capacity, according to outside experts.
In either case, the two Senate Democrats are taking the opportunity to try to get answers about the role of OMB in crafting what has become a contentious policy, with broad bipartisan opposition emerging to the detention of children in makeshift facilities away from their parents.
The answers might shed some light on the extent to which the Trump administration’s shift in emphasis went through the customary inter-agency process.
Among the specific queries posed by Brown and Warren is a document request for any and all communication about the policy exchanged with the White House, specifically seeking emails and other correspondence with senior White House adviser Stephen Miller, a key administration architect of its immigration policies.
More generally, the senators also requested copies of “all emails and other documents relating to your involvement with the Zero-Tolerance Policy, including the approval of new or reprogrammed funds for: the construction or acquisition of new detention facilities; travel and overtime for DHS personnel; resources for additional criminal or immigration enforcement; or travel costs for repatriation.”
“The American people deserve to know what role you have played in developing and implementing this appalling process,” the senators wrote.