Five Democratic senators oppose Omarova nomination: report

Five Democratic senators reportedly don't support Saule Omarova’s nomination to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, raising fresh doubts about her confirmation after ICBA and state community banks groups expressed opposition.

Report: According to Axios, Senate Banking Committee members Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have told committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and administration officials they oppose the nomination. Sens. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) also reportedly oppose the nomination, along with all Senate Republicans.

Background: Omarova—a Cornell University law professor—faced questions during her nomination hearing earlier this month following academic papers and public statements proposing to “end banking as we know it” and transfer private retail banking functions to the Federal Reserve.

Industry Response: During direct lobbying in Washington and in a letter to the Senate committee, ICBA and affiliated state groups said the industry’s opposition is based on a careful review of Omarova’s positions, which are “alarming to community banks.”

Next Steps: While the White House reportedly told Axios it will continue to “strongly support” the Omarova nomination, a majority vote is needed in the Senate Banking Committee and the full Senate for confirmation—a mathematical impossibility if all Republican members oppose and the Axios reporting holds.