By Pete Schroeder and Andrea Shalal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Saule Omarova has withdrawn her nomination to lead a top banking regulator, the White House announced Tuesday, after facing opposition from Republicans and some moderate Democrats.
Omarova withdrew her name from consideration to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency after a contentious nomination process that saw moderate Democrats express skepticism over some of her opinions, while Republicans grilled her.
Omarova, a Cornell Law School professor who grew up in what was then part of the Soviet Union, defended herself in a confrontational November nomination hearing.
While strongly backed by progressives who saw her as a strong opponent of Wall Street, she struggled to win support from several moderate Democrats critical to her confirmation in the narrowly divided Senate.
Omarova's nomination proved a heavy lift at a time when the Biden administration needs to rally the support of all Democrats to ensure passage of its $1.75 trillion social and climate spending measure. At least 10 Democratic senators had expressed reservations, which would have made approval of Omarova virtually impossible, according to a congressional aide.
In a statement, Biden praised her "deep expertise" on financial regulation, and criticized "inappropriate personal attacks that were beyond the pale" following her nomination.
Republicans and banks were vehemently opposed to her nomination, citing her academic work on bank oversight and reform, which called for big banks to be broken up and the Federal Reserve to provide public bank accounts.
She is the third nominee that the Biden administration has withdrawn, following Neera Tanden, who had been nominated to head the Office of Management and Budget and David Chipman, who was nominated to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Aurora Ellis)