Appearing before the Senate Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs Committee on Thursday, President Biden's nominee to head up the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) faced tough questions from Republicans over her past statements, writings, and actions that have raised eyebrows as Biden continues to stand by his nominee.
Dr. Saule Omarova, a professor at Cornell University, has faced stiff opposition to her nomination due to radical views and statements. When asked about her desire for oil and gas companies to go bankrupt, Omarova brushed it off as "poor phrasing."
Senator Crapo (R-ID) called Omarova out for subsequent writings that called for the "debanking" of oil and gas companies to "starve them of their source of capital," suggesting her writings on the topic were more than simply clumsy wording.
South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott called out Democrats for their false claims of "personal attacks" against Omarova, saying skeptical questions and criticism are all based on her views that relate to the job for which she's been nominated. "I cannot think of a nominee more poorly suited to be the comptroller of the currency," he said.
Sen. Scott also read Omarova her past writings on a range of issues germane to her potential role at OCC, adding he doesn't have any questions "because there's nothing you can say today to undo what you've said for years, including this year."
Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) grilled Dr. Omarova on her past membership in a communist youth organization when she was growing up in the Soviet Union, along with more of her past writings about the banking and fossil fuel industries. "I don't know whether to call you professor or comrade," he noted, also calling out the fact that Omarova has refused to turn over her Moscow State University thesis to Republicans.
Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) grills Biden nominee Saule Omarova on allegations of past membership in communist groups: "I don't know whether to call you professor or comrade." pic.twitter.com/XjcAeawBBl— Spencer Brown (@itsSpencerBrown) November 18, 2021
As Katie reported at the time Biden announced its nomination of Omarova, "her biography did not include her studies at Moscow State University or the title of her thesis, 'Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in The Capital.'"
President Biden continues to stand by Omarova, and even doubled down on his support for her amid calls from Republicans to withdraw her 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," a White House statement declared. "The White House continues to strongly support her historic nomination."
Democrats in the Senate, though, may not be united behind Biden's nominee, as Fox News' Chad Pergram reported Thursday morning.
From colleague Tyler Olson. Tester met w/Omarova but still has concerns. Tester: Some of Dr. 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— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) November 18, 2021