President Joe Biden’s pick for a top banking regulatory position said “we want” oil and gas companies to go bankrupt, although she acknowledged the country couldn’t afford the loss of jobs.

Saule Omarova, a law professor at Cornell University who graduated college in the USSR, has faced pushback over her nomination to be comptroller of the currency from business groups and Republicans, who have said that she is extreme and opposed to the industry as a whole.

A video of her discussing the idea of a National Investment Authority — a new government bureaucracy that would act directly in financial markets to allocate “both public and private capital” to fight social ills — has resurfaced in which she muses about oil and coal companies failing in order to fight climate change.

“A lot of the smaller players in that industry are going to, probably, go bankrupt in short order — at least, we want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change,” Omarova said as part of the Jain Family Institute’s “Social Wealth Seminar” series in March.


“But that creates a lot of this sort of loss of jobs, a lot of displacement, and economic fallback that we cannot afford, really, so [the National Capital Management Corporation] could actually become a kind of equity investor at that point, taking over management of those companies and basically leading them through restructuring to a new technological basis and to a new technological business model, and in that sense, it’s the same type of activity but a different context,” she added.

Sen. Ted Cruz tore into Omarova over Twitter after a video of her remarks about energy companies began circulating.

"Biden’s pick of Moscow State University’s Saule Omarova for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is a grave threat to our economy," the Texas Republican said. "She wants to destroy energy independence, wants to nationalize consumer banks, & she has called to 'effectively end banking as we know it.'"

Omarova has faced flak for her theoretical proposals, including a recent paper she authored, titled “The People’s Ledger: How to Democratize Money and Finance the Economy,” which offers a blueprint for “radically reshaping the basic architecture and dynamics of modern finance.”

She is also facing scrutiny for her time at Moscow State, which she attended on the Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship. Sen. Pat Toomey, the ranking Republican on the Banking Committee, requested that Omarova hand over a copy of the thesis she wrote there, titled Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in The Capital.

Omarova has pushed back on her critics and said that she was an “anti-communist” while attending school in the Soviet Union. She said that criticism for her nomination stems from her gender and Kazakh heritage.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Omarova said there is an “unfortunate misunderstanding of my position with respect to community banks.”


“I actually am a huge supporter of community banks that channel credit to American families and businesses in their communities,” she added.

Her nomination will likely be a heavy lift, given the vocal business opposition and the fact that Democrats cannot afford to lose even a single vote in approving her. Sen. Jon Tester, a centrist Democrat from Montana, has expressed “real concerns” with her ability to serve in the role.