Five Senate Democrats reportedly opposed to Biden banking nominee
Five Senate Democrats have said they will oppose President Biden’s nominee to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Saule Omarova, Axios reported.
Three Democratic members of the Senate Banking Committee — Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — reportedly told the panel chairman, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), in a call on Wednesday they would not support Omarova’s nomination.
According to Axios, Sens. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) also oppose the nomination.
Without the backing of all Democrats, it would be nearly impossible for Omarova to get confirmed in an evenly split Senate.
“The White House continues to strongly support her historic nomination,” a White House official told the news outlet.
“Saule Omarova is eminently qualified for this position,” the official added. “She has been treated unfairly since her nomination with unacceptable red-baiting from Republicans like it’s the McCarthy era.”
Senate Republicans have gone after Omarova, who was raised in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, for a past paper she wrote while at Moscow State University, saying it raises questions about her support for capitalism.
“She wants to nationalize the banking system, put in place price controls, create a command and control economy where the government allocates resources explicitly, instead of free men and women making their own decisions about the goods and services they want to buy and sell in an open market,” Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.), the top Republican on the Banking panel, said at her nomination hearing. “These are exactly the kind of socialist ideas that have failed everywhere in the world they’ve been tried.”
Other Republicans called Omarova “comrade” while she was questioned at the hearing.
Democrats have said Republicans are trying to paint Omarova as a communist sympathizer, with Brown saying the line of attack is a “cruelty no person should experience.”
“I grew up without knowing half of my family. My grandmother herself escaped death twice under the Stalin regime,” Omarova said at the hearing. “This is what seared in my mind. That’s who I am.”
The Hill has reached out to the five Senators reportedly opposing Omarova’s nomination, Brown and the White House for comment.