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Biden bank regulator pick Saule Omarova withdraws after Senate fight over her background

Dr. Saule Omarova listens during her nomination hearing to be the Comptroller of the Currency with the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill on November 18, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s nominee for comptroller of the currency, Saule Omarova, withdrew her name from Senate consideration for the post on Tuesday.

Omarova’s withdrawal came after concerns from Republican senators about the Cornell University professor’s writings as a legal scholar, as well as her background of being raised in the former Soviet Union.

“I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said at her confirmation hearing, in a quip that was criticized by Democrats.

Biden on Tuesday condemned what he called the “inappropriate personal attacks” on Omarova, “that were far beyond the pale.”

“I nominated Saule because of her deep expertise in financial regulation and her long-standing, respected career in the private sector, the public sector, and as a leading academic in the field,” Biden said.

“As a strong advocate for consumers and a staunch defender of the safety and soundness of our financial system, Saule would have brought invaluable insight and perspective to our important work on behalf of the American people.”

Omarova, in her own statement, said, “It was a great honor and a true privilege to be nominated by President Biden to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency overseeing the U.S. national banking system.”

“I deeply value President Biden’s trust in my abilities and remain firmly committed to the Administration’s vision of a prosperous, inclusive, and just future for our country. At this point in the process, however, it is no longer tenable for me to continue as a Presidential nominee.”

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