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Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, at a confirmation hearing on Nov. 18. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden's pick to head one of the country's most powerful banking regulators is dropping out of consideration for the post, according to a statement from Biden that accepted the withdrawal.

Why it matters: Saule Omarova, nominated to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, faced a tough path to confirmation — with opposition from Republicans and moderate Democrats.

  • The withdrawal means that the OCC — charged with overseeing lenders whose assets make up two-thirds of the banking system's total — will continue on without a permanent head for the foreseeable future.

What they're saying: "Saule would have brought valuable insight and perspective to our important work on behalf of the American people. But unfortunately, from the very beginning of her nomination, Saule was subjected to inappropriate personal attacks that were far beyond the pale," Biden said in the statement.

Catch up quick: Republicans targeted Omarova — a Cornell University law professor and vocal critic of the banking industry — for her upbringing in the former Soviet Union and accused her of wanting to nationalize the bank sector.

  • In a testy confirmation hearing last month, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) questioned whether he should call Omarova "professor" or "comrade."
  • In that hearing, moderate Democrats called out her opposition to a law that eased some regional bank regulations —and her comments earlier this year that small oil-and-gas companies should go bankrupt to help “tackle climate change.”

The bottom line: The OCC has been without a permanent head for 18 months.

  • Biden said he will "continue to work to find a nominee for this position, and plan to make an announcement at a future date."

Go deeper

Biden names Sarah Bloom Raskin as Fed's top banking regulator

Sarah Bloom Raskin during a Fed meeting in 2013. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden will nominate Sarah Bloom Raskin as the Federal Reserve's top Wall Street cop, a Biden administration official said, one of three nominees being unveiled for the critical open seats on the central bank's board of governors.

Why it matters: It's Biden's biggest mark yet on the influential economic body that's center stage as the country grapples with inflation rising at the fastest pace in decades and a recovering labor market.

Biden's epic failures

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

In the two months since signing the $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law, President Biden has by almost every measure bombed big time on the things that matter most.

The big picture: Biden, who marks one year in office next Thursday, has never been less popular nationally, after personally lobbying his party and the public on Build Back Better and voting rights — and failing.

Updated 4 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker