Saule Omarova, President Joe Biden’s pick for a top Treasury Department position, struggled to answer whether she thinks higher gasoline prices are bad for the U.S. during a Banking Committee hearing Thursday.
“Senator, that’s a tricky question,” Omarova, who was nominated for the Treasury’s high-ranking comptroller of the currency post, said in response to Republican Sen. Bill Hagerty’s question.
“It’s probably bad for America,” she continued after the Tennessee senator followed up. “It’s not my expertise.”
Hagerty noted that Omarova was “having a hard time acknowledging that higher gas prices are bad.” (RELATED: ‘That Is Hilarious’: Energy Secretary Cackles When Asked About Rising Gasoline Prices)
Omarova has faced intense backlash for previous writings and left-wing positions since Biden nominated her in September and every Republican is expected to vote against confirming her. Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Jon Tester have also expressed “real concerns” with her leading the key Treasury office, Fox Business reported.
Hagerty’s questioning was prompted by Omarova’s previous statements on the U.S. energy sector. In the last several months, she has argued in favor of bankrupting and starving the fossil fuel industry to promote clean energy.
“Here what I’m thinking about is primarily the coal and oil and gas industry,” Omarova stated during a virtual seminar in March. “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.”
“So, the way we basically get rid of those carbon financiers is we starve them of their sources of capital,” she said during a different event two months later.
The Biden administration, meanwhile, has been scrambling to combat increasing gasoline prices which have hit multiyear highs in recent weeks. The president has blamed large oil companies, Middle Eastern producers and has turned to other nations including China, asking them to tap emergency oil reserves.
However, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week that the administration viewed higher gas prices as proof that the country needs to transition to green energy solutions.
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