By KEN SWEET, AP Business Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s option to run one of many companies charged with overseeing the banking business confronted sharp questioning Thursday from Republican senators, who tried to label Saule Omarova as somebody who would nationalize the U.S. banking system.
Omarova, 55, was nominated in September to be the nation’s subsequent comptroller of the forex. If confirmed, she can be the primary girl and particular person of shade to run the 158-year-old company.
Omarova is a long-time tutorial and well-regarded professional on monetary regulation, however many Republicans and the banking business have taken difficulty with a number of papers revealed throughout her profession the place she’s proposed wholesale modifications to the banking system.
“Taken in totality, her concepts do quantity to a socialist manifesto for American monetary companies,” mentioned Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, the highest Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, talking at Thursday’s listening to.
Another senator, referring to her childhood within the former Soviet Union, mentioned he didn’t know whether or not to name her “professor or comrade.”
The banking foyer is overwhelmingly in opposition to her nomination. In an interview with The Associated Press this week, Omarova mentioned their opposition is basically attributable to fears that she can be a tricky regulator for Wall Street and banks.
“This is a vicious smear marketing campaign, coordinated by Republicans who’re doing the bidding of the massive banks,” mentioned Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, a long-time critic of the large banks.
Republicans on the committee centered their questioning or statements on Omarova’s previous writings and public feedback.
Last 12 months, she revealed a paper arguing for an overhaul of the nation’s banking system that may develop the Federal Reserve’s function by permitting the central financial institution to carry shopper deposits. Proponents of such a transfer say the Fed may prolong credit score extra shortly when wanted to particular person accounts throughout instances of financial downturns. Following the Great Recession, banks hoarded deposits and did little lending to rebuild their steadiness sheets.
The nomination may hinge on two average Democratic senators who sit on the Banking Committee: Jon Tester of Montana and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Republicans are united of their opposition to and Toomey and others tried to color Omarova as a radical selection as a way to dissuade Tester and Sinema from her giving their help.
In his questioning, Toomey mentioned he nonetheless had “important issues” about Omarova’s nomination even after meeting along with her privately. Toomey centered most of his questioning on Omarova’s earlier opposition to a bipartisan regulation that eliminated a number of the framework enacted after the 2008 monetary disaster. Toomey was a co-sponsor of that regulation.
Omarova mentioned she now sees benefit within the regulation, significantly the way it lessened the regulatory paperwork required of small group banks.
Omarova was born in Kazakhstan when it was a part of the Soviet Union and immigrated to the U.S. in 1991. She has labored primarily as a lawyer and, for the final a number of years, at Cornell University as a professor of regulation. Over the years she has testified quite a few instances as an professional witness on monetary regulation. She labored briefly within the administration of President George W. Bush.
Her origins within the former Soviet Union have change into pink meat for some members of Congress and their allies within the conservative press. In a letter to Omarova after she was nominated, Toomey requested a replica of a commencement paper she wrote about Karl Marx “within the unique Russian” when she was an undergraduate at Moscow State University.
While some senators throughout the listening to tried to downplay this narrative, the problem was raised by Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana. The senator requested whether or not Omarova nonetheless had a membership with youth Soviet communist organizations.
“I don’t know whether or not to name you professor or comrade,” Kennedy mentioned, which led to some gasps within the listening to room.
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