Democratic senators oppose President Biden’s Omarova nomination

Democratic senators oppose President Biden’s Omarova nomination


A group of five US Senators from among the Democrats have reportedly rejected Saule Omarova, President Joe Biden’s nominee, for heading the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). 



Initially, Omarova’s nomination for the position of the bank regulator had been opposed by three members from the Senate Banking Committee. The three included Senators Jon Tester, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Warner, who had rejected the nominee over a phone call with panel Chairman Sen. Sherrod Brown, according to a report by Axios. The opposition had further received support from Senators John Hickenlooper and Mark Kelly.



Having previously worked as Special Advisor for Regulatory Policy to the US Under Secretary, Domestic Finance, Omarova is widely known for her anti-crypto sentiments. 



As a result of the opposition faced by a total of five Democrats and all the Republicans, the White House nominee now requires every remaining Democratic candidate to vote for her to be appointed to the position.



Senators had also questioned Omarova regarding her nomination on November 18, including Senator John Ossoff from Georgia, who had specifically asked Omarova about cryptocurrency. Her comments had recognized some basic utility elements that cryptocurrency brings to financial markets. Still, she had focused on the potential for cryptocurrencies to undermine the US dollar, aspects of which the Comptroller of the Currency has been charged with regulating.



The opposition would now follow either of the two scenarios: Either the Biden administration would successfully persuade the Democratic senators who have objected to Omarova’s nomination, or the administration would have to pick a new nominee for Senate confirmation.



In October 2021, Senator Pat Toomey had also pressured Omarova about her missing Marxism thesis. In the first weeks of November, the acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael J. Hsu, had singled out Tether and Binance as risky players in the blockchain space.



Meanwhile, Sherrod Brown, Chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, has issued notices that make it compulsory for crypto firms of releasing information related to the investor and consumer protection on stablecoins.



Brown’s notice was originally directed to Gemini, Coinbase, TrustToken, Paxos, Binance.US, Centre, Circle, and Tether. All of these firms now require handing over the requested information by the deadline of December 3. 



The mentioned crypto businesses would now need sharing information on purchase, exchange and minting stablecoins. In addition, it is expected from the named firms also to share the number of tokens in circulation and how often their users exchange them for US dollars. According to the Senator, investors might not be appreciative of “the complexity and distinct features and terms of each stable coin.” 



According to the letter, the Senator has expressed “significant concerns with the non-standardized terms” that are applicable to the redemption of particular stablecoins, as well as how those terms are different from traditional assets and how these terms might be inconsistent across digital asset trading platforms.

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