The bumpy road to confirm President Joe Biden’s choice as head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) met with potholes during the Senate confirmation hearing as the childhood of Willow Omarova in the former Soviet Union – now Kazakhstan – and her undergraduate work came under attack.
Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee have targeted Republicans for questioning Omarova’s allegiance to the United States and to capitalism. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) said he had never seen a “more radical candidate.”
Another Republican senator asked if he should call Omarova, a Cornell law professor, “comrade.”
See also: Senate could remove OCC choice of Biden Saule Omarova ahead of vote
“My concern with Professor Omarova is her long history of promoting ideas which she herself describes as ‘radical’,” said Toomey, who led the GOP’s fight against her nomination.
“I agree that they are radical. But I would also describe them as socialist. In fact, I have never seen a more radical candidate for the post of federal regulator,” Toomey said at the hearing. .
Omarova categorically denied having any sympathy for the views of the Communist Party.
âI am not a communist. I do not subscribe to this ideology. I couldn’t choose where I was born. . . My family suffered under the communist regime, âshe said during the hearing.
Read more: Biden Officially Appoints Omarova As OCC Head Over Objections
The head of the OCC oversees the regulation of around 1,200 banks with assets totaling some $ 14 trillion, representing two-thirds of the US banking system. As an agency, OCC is responsible for ensuring that lenders comply with federal laws and provide fair access to financial services.
Omarova was asked about her academic papers which advocated increasing the power of the Federal Reserve and reducing the influence of big banks like JP Morgan Chase. Some officials involved in the appointment process expressed concern over his statement in a Vanderbilt Law Review article that called for “an end to the bank as we know it.”
You may also enjoy: How Regulation Could Shape the Future of the Connected Economy
If confirmed, Omarova will be the first woman and person of color to serve as comptroller.