By Paul LeBlanc, CNN
President Joe Biden’s nominee to be comptroller of the currency, Saule Omarova, has withdrawn her name from consideration after facing resistance from the banking industry, Republicans and some moderate Democrats.
Omarova said in a letter to the White House that it was “no longer tenable” to pursue the nomination for the critical post atop the banking regulator within the Treasury Department.
“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,” she wrote in the letter. “At this point in the process, however, it is no longer tenable for me to continue as a Presidential nominee.”
Biden responded in a statement Tuesday hailing Omarova’s “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.”
“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,” the President said. “But unfortunately, from the very beginning of her nomination, Saule was subjected to inappropriate personal attacks that were far beyond the pale.”
During her confirmation hearing last month, Republicans harshly questioned Omarova, who was born in the Soviet Union. GOP Sen. John Kennedy, in a widely circulated exchange, said, “I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade.”
“Senator, I’m not a communist,” Omarova responded during the hearing. “I do not subscribe to that ideology. I could not choose where I was born.”
Omarova said at the time that her family “suffered under the communist regime.”
“I grew up without knowing half of my family. My grandmother herself escaped death twice under the Stalin regime. This is what’s seared in my mind. That’s who I am. I remember that history. I came to this country. I’m proud to be an American,” she said.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency “charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks and federal savings associations as well as federal branches and agencies of foreign banks,” according to their website.
Biden called the office a “critical agency” in his statement Tuesday and vowed to continue working toward finding a nominee for the position.
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CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.