WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, a senior member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, pressed President Trump’s nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on her role in the Administration’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Kathy Kraninger, a high-ranking official at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), helped analyze needs, and formulate disaster supplemental appropriations requests to Congress after Hurricane Maria.
“You were a significant architect of the Trump Administration’s response in Puerto Rico, which was at best botched and incompetent,” Menendez said. “At worst, it reflects this Administration’s most insidious views about Hispanic Americans. When the three and half million American citizens who call Puerto Rico were faced with their darkest hour, you turned your back on them and looked for ways to pinch pennies. And worst of all, I think you treated them like second-class citizens. That does not give me the faith that when you’re going to have to stand up for seniors, servicemembers, students, and homeowners against some of the biggest financial institutions in this country that you’ll do that. If you couldn’t do that for the people of Puerto Rico, I don’t know how you’re going to do it for anybody else, and they are U.S. citizens just like you and me, Ms. Kraninger.”
On July 10, 2018, Sen. Menendez sent a letter asking for a full accounting of her role in the Administration’s response to Hurricane Maria. She did not respond.
Menendez pressed Trump’s nominee on the disparity between the Administration’s federal funding response to Puerto Rico, versus other states that faced disasters on the mainland. “Ms. Kraninger, your November 2017 request to Congress requested budget cuts to offset aid dollars provided to Puerto Rico,” he said. “In your extensive disaster management experience, does Congress typically require offsets for supplemental disaster funding?” Refusing to answer directly, Menendez provided her the answer, stating, “You and I both know the answer is ‘no.’ You should know that. You know that.” Kraninger responded, “I appreciate your perspective on it,” causing Menendez to shake his head saying simply, “Amazing.”