Sen. Toomey: Saule Omarova’s nomination must be derailed
Budget Committee member reacts to the president’s choice for bank regulator on ‘Kudlow’
President Biden's nominee to be comptroller of the currency, Saule Omarova, said at a roundtable discussion earlier this year that Sen. Joe Manchin is "supposed to be on the Democratic side" as she lamented Congress' reluctance enact big spending programs.
Omarova, a law professor at Cornell whose nomination appears to be in jeopardy, made the comments in a May 20 roundtable discussion about her proposal for a "National Investment Authority."
The purpose of the authority, which would be a government institution independent of Congress and the president, would be to direct public and private investments toward "vital infrastructure and the real economy." Part of the reason it is necessary, Omarova argued at the roundtable, is members of Congress like Manchin, D-W.Va., who oppose massive government spending programs.
"It’s fine when, if we have a strong majority in Congress and we are sure that Congress will fund whatever we need, but we can never be sure of that," she said.
Ms. Saule T. Omarova, Professor of Law and Director, Jack Clarke Program on the Law and Regulation of Financial Institutions and Markets, Cornell University. Fintech: Examining Digitization, Data, and Technology September 18, 2018 (Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs) SAULE OMAROVA COULD BE NEXT BIDEN NOMINEE TO GO DOWN WITH BANKING COMMITTEE DEMS RELUCTANT TO SUPPORT HER
"People like Joe Manchin, for example – supposed to be on the Democratic side – and yet feel very uncomfortable with big spending ideas, right?" Omarova continued. "To supplement that kind of fiscally constraint and politically constraint kind of spending, we need to make sure we have a strong public institution that can harness the existing abundant private capital and pull it in the right direction."
Part of the reason Omarova's nomination is considered vulnerable is that some Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee have said they will be reluctant to support her. Among them is Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.
"Some of Ms. Omarova’s past statements about the role of government in the financial system raise real concerns about her ability to impartially serve at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and I’m looking forward to meeting with her to discuss them," Tester told FOX Business Tuesday.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. If Saule Omarova’s nomination tanks in committee, Manchin’s opinion of her will not matter. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik / AP Newsroom) MANCHIN 'SAVED THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: LIEBERMAN
If any Banking Committee Democrats oppose Omarova, her nomination will not be able to make it to the Senate floor. That is because in the power-sharing agreement in the 50-50 Senate, committees are evenly split along party lines. If the nomination gets stuck in committee then Manchin's vote would be irrelevant.
The White House told FOX Business Tuesday that it continues to support Omarova's nomination.
"Saule Omarova is eminently qualified and was nominated for this role because of her lifetime of work on financial regulation, including in the private sector, in government and as a leading academic in the field. The White House continues to strongly support her historic nomination," a White House official said.
BIDEN NOMINEE SAULE OMAROVA CALLS FINANCIAL SERVICES ‘QUINTESSENTIAL A—— INDUSTRY’
Another key member of the Senate Banking Committee is Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., who is considered one of the Senate's key moderates along with Manchin.
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., attends a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee oversight hearing on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 14, 2021. Tester told Fox News he is concerned a (Reuters Photos)
Later in the roundtable in which Omarova mentioned Manchin, Omarova's colleague Bob Hockett, who co-authored their white paper on the National Investment Authority, brings up Sinema in critical comments. Hockett argues that the president should consider how to take unilateral action on public-directed investments because Sinema and Manchin might not authorize their investment authority.
BIDEN TREASURY NOMINEE OMAROVA WAS MEMBER OF MARXIST FACEBOOK GROUP AS RECENTLY AS 2019, POST INDICATES
"The problem… as Saule noted, somebody like Joe Manchin, right? It might be—no pun intended—but it might be sort of a bridge too far to get people like Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin on board with a new free standing institution," Hockett said. "I’m all for putting as much pressure as possible on these people to get them to realize what has to be done. But just in case they can’t, it seemed to me that it might be worth thinking about things that the President can do… without Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema."
Sinema's office did not respond to a request for comment from FOX Business. Neither did the office of Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who's also been rumored to have reservations about Omarova's nomination.
Fox News previously reported that opposition to Omarova's nomination is being spearheaded by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who is attacking the law professor on a litany of issues. Among them are history
writing about Marxism, calling the banking industry she would regulate in her potential new job the " quintessential a—— industry," and calling for an end to banking "as we know it," by "the complete migration of demand deposit accounts to the Federal Reserve."
Demand deposit accounts are the standard checking and savings accounts most Americans have with private banks.
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Toomey continues to demand that Omarova turn over her Moscow State University thesis on Marxism – which he says was on her CV as recently as 2017 – but she has not done so.
Omarova's backers, led by committee Chairman Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, meanwhile are accusing Republicans of engaging in unseemly smear tactics by bringing up parts of Omarova's past.
"Before today, I thought, red scare McCarthyism was rightly relegated to the dustbin of history," Brown said in a statement earlier last month. "Any American citizen who fled communist repression – whether it be FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams or OCC nominee Saule Omarova – should be lauded for their courage and conviction. I believe that my colleagues – from both sides of the aisle – will reject such character assassinations."
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