by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden’s pick to regulate the banking system said earlier this year that she wants to “starve” companies of money to invest in the oil and gas industry in order to fight climate change, comments that could further complicate her chances of Senate confirmation.
Saule Omarova, who received the Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship at Moscow State University, has proposed establishing a National Investment Authority to divert investments away from the oil and gas industry and into “clean and green” infrastructure projects. Speaking at a virtual forum in May, Omarova said “the way we basically get rid of those carbon financiers is we starve them of their sources of capital.”
Omarova, the nominee to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, faces stiff opposition from Senate Republicans over the National Investment Authority proposal, as well as her calls to “end banking as we know it.” Omarova has proposed allowing the Federal Reserve to handle consumer bank deposits, replacing private banks.
At least three Democrats—Sens. Jon Tester (D., Mont.), Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.), and Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.)—have expressed concerns about Omarova, Axios reported. Omarova took a shot at Manchin at the May forum, saying that while the senator is “supposedly on the Democratic side,” he is “very uncomfortable with big spending ideas.” Manchin has opposed the Green New Deal and other measures that aim to kill off the fossil fuel industry.
Omarova, a professor at Cornell Law School, says her proposed National Investment Authority would serve as the “fighting muscle” of the progressive-backed Green New Deal. Under Omarova’s proposal, the National Investment Authority would create investment funds and issue bonds in order to lure investors to fund clean energy projects, sapping oil and gas projects of their funding.