GOP senator says Biden's 'radical' Treasury pick could 'turn banking into... the DMV'

Bill Hagery explains how much Saule Omarova would control if chosen as Comptroller of the Currency

Tennessee Republican Sen. Bill Hagerty has extensive experience in the area of banking, and he expressed his "shock" on Thursday that President Biden's nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, Dr. Saule Omarova, is up for consideration of the job given her "radical" views.

The senator detailed his concerns to FOX Business on Thursday after a committee hearing on the nominee, and used a straight-forward analogy from his wife to explain how the confirmation of Omarova could impact the average American.

Saule Omarova

Ms. Saule T. Omarova, Professor of Law and Director, Jack Clarke Program on the Law and Regulation of Financial Institutions and Markets, Cornell University. Fintech: Examining Digitization, Data, and Technology September 18, 2018 (Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs)


"I find myself shocked that we find ourselves with a candidate this radical," Hagerty said following a confirmation hearing for Omarova before the Senate banking committee, referring to controversial statements she has made both during meetings and in her academic writings.

Omarova, a law professor at Cornell University, suggested earlier this year during a virtual event that "a lot of small players in [the coal, oil, and gas industries] are going to probably go bankrupt in short order – at least we want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change."

In her academic writings, she has advocated for transferring standard checking accounts and savings accounts from private banks to the Federal Reserve, which she claimed Thursday was merely part of a discussion on academic debate.

Bill Hagerty

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 10: Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., is seen outside the U.S. Capitol. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"I find it shocking that we find ourselves with a candidate that's as radical as this – who describes herself as radical, frankly," Hagerty told FOX Business. 

The senator said that the position of Comptroller of the United States is "one of the most responsible positions in the United States government," noting that Omarova's "name is going to be on our money."

"She's going to have oversight responsibilities of a team of over 2,400 people, bank examiners, with a budget of over a billion dollars," Hagerty continued. He referred to those funds as a "war chest."

Bill Hagerty

UNITED STATES - JULY 15: Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., speaks with Roll Call in his office in the Russell Senate Office Building on Friday, Juy 16, 2021. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Image / Getty Images)


The Tennessee senator said that bank examiners hold "an enormous amount of leverage" such as determining whether banks are allowed to merge, and Hagerty expressed considerable concern regarding how Omarova's potential confirmation might impact the average American via her proposal to hand over private demand deposit banking – referring to the typical checking or savings account – to the Fed.

"I was talking to my wife about this, and she said [Omarova] wants to turn banking into something like the DMV," he said. "No one looks fondly on the idea of stripping out their everyday banking activity over to a federal bureaucracy that would be no more efficient than the local DMV."

FOX Business' Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.