Republicans force another Biden nominee to withdraw after calling her a 'communist'
Yet another of President Joe Biden‘s nominees – and yet another woman opposed by Senate Republicans – has been forced to withdraw her name from consideration for a top job in the Biden administration. Unsurprisingly, Senate Republicans are holding up a huge number of nominations, and unsurprisingly, a huge number of them are women.
“Saule Omarova, a Cornell Law professor whom President Biden picked for a key banking regulator job, is withdrawing from consideration for the post. Bank lobbyists and Republicans painted her as a communist because she was born in the Soviet Union,” The New York Times reported Tuesday afternoon via tweet.
Omarova is not a communist, as she was forced to tell Republican U.S. Senator John Kennedy, who told her during her confirmation hearing last month, “I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade.”
Neo-McCarthyism in real time: Sen. Kennedy (R-LA) questions whether Biden\u2019s pick for comptroller, Dr. Omarova, is a communist. \n \nHer response is worth watching:pic.twitter.com/AeWNLf15Fb— The Recount (@The Recount) 1637535601
The decision to pull Omarova’s nomination has exposed the Republicans’ tactics of slow-walking and worse, placing anonymous holds on countless Biden nominees.
President Biden is facing a huge hole in his administration, in large part thanks to Republicans.
According to the non-partisan Partnership for Public Service, which tracks 803 federal government executive branch positions requiring Senate confirmation, 235 nominations – nearly three in ten (29%) – are sitting in the Senate awaiting confirmation. Just 194 have been confirmed (164 positions have no nominees at all.)
Compared to his last three predecessors, President Biden is not getting the support he needs in the 50-50 Senate, as this chart from the Partnership for Public Service shows:
Any U.S. Senator can secretly place an anonymous hold on any presidential nominee, for any length of time, and Republicans – reportedly often Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley on Minnesota – have been taking extreme advantage of that rule.
Half of all of President Biden’s approved nominees have been women, but other women have been forced to withdraw, most notably Neera Tanden, whom President Biden nominated to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Tanden and Omarova are far from the only women whose nominations may never get a vote.
“At least 21 women for top positions” in just the State Dept., The Hill reported last month, “including 16 ambassadors, four assistant secretary positions and the nominee for Director General of the Foreign Service — are having their confirmations stalled by holds.”
Just today Bloomberg Government reported Senate Republicans have placed a “blockade” on “dozens of key defense and foreign policy positions.”
Omarova was the victim of a concerted red-baiting effort by Republicans, lobbyists, and right wing media.
“Some lobbyists, including the incoming chairman of a group representing community bankers and the chief executive of another group that focuses on big banks,” The New York Times observes, “also shared a Wall Street Journal editorial suggesting that Ms. Omarova’s Soviet childhood meant that she could not be trusted.”
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