Democratic senators oppose President Biden's OCC Omarova nomination

A group of five Democratic senators has reportedly rejected President Joe Biden’s nominee, Saule Omarova, to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). 

Omarova’s nomination as a bank regulator was initially opposed by three members of the Senate Banking Committee — Senators Jon Tester, Mark Warner, and Kyrsten Sinema — on a phone call with panel chairman Sen. Sherrod Brown, as reported by Axios. The opposition was further supported by Senators John Hickenlooper and Mark Kelly.

Omarova is known for anti-crypto sentiments who has previously worked as Special Advisor for Regulatory Policy to the Under Secretary, Domestic Finance. As a result of the opposition from five Democrats and all Republicans, the White House nominee requires every other Democratic candidate to vote for her appointment.

Senators questioned Omarova regarding her nomination on Nov. 18, including Senator John Ossoff of Georgia, who had specific questions for Omarova about cryptocurrency. Her comments recognized some of the utility that cryptocurrency brings to financial markets, but she focused on the potential for cryptocurrency to undermine the US dollar, aspects of which the Comptroller of the Currency is charged with regulating.

What happens next is one of two things. Either the Biden administration persuades the democratic senators who object to Omarova’s nomination to change their minds, or the administration picks a new nominee for senate confirmation.

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

Senator Hickenlooper’s Denver office did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

Related: Senate Banking Committee chair seeks information from stablecoin issuers and exchanges, suggesting possible hearing

Turning up the regulatory heat, Sherrod Brown, the chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, issued notices that require crypto firms to release information related to consumer and investor protection on stablecoins.

As Cointelegraph reported, Brown’s notice was directed to Coinbase, Gemini, Paxos, TrustToken, Binance.US, Circle, Centre, and Tether, who now require to hand over the requested information by Dec. 03. The crypto businesses will need to share information on purchasing, exchanging and minting stablecoins.

Additionally, the firms are expected to also share the number of tokens in circulation and how often users exchange them for U.S. dollars. According to the senator, investors “may not appreciate the complexity and distinct features and terms of each stablecoin.” According to the letter:

“I have significant concerns with the non-standardized terms applicable to redemption of particular stablecoins, how those terms differ from traditional assets and how those terms may not be consistent across digital asset trading platforms.”

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