The Obama administration’s controversial pick for Treasury Undersecretary, Antonio Weiss, announced on Monday he has decided to withdraw his name from consideration for the post. The nomination of Weiss, a respected Wall Street banker, had become a distraction as progressive Democrats criticized his lack of regulatory experience and financial industry connections.
Weiss will accept a position as a counselor to Treasury Secretary Lew.
Weiss’s stepping aside will be seen as a win for progressives. Although he will be able to play a similar role at Treasury as counselor, he will not have as much influence in the unconfirmed position. The White House noted it will continue to search for a suitable nominee to fill the Under Secretary position.
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Statement from Antonio Weiss
“I am writing to request that the administration not re-submit my nomination,” Weiss wrote in the letter to Obama (seen by POLITICO). “I do not believe that the Treasury Department would be well served by the lengthy confirmation process my renomination would likely entail.”
Weiss decided to accept a counselor position advising Lew on domestic and international issues, which “ will allow me to begin serving immediately in support of the Administration’s efforts to foster broad-based economic growth and ensure financial reform that protects consumers and reduces the likelihood of future financial crises,” he noted in his letter.
He continued: “I am grateful for the trust you have placed in me, and I look forward to being a strong advocate for your economic policy agenda as a member of your administration.”
Statement from Treasury Secretary Lew on Antonio Weiss
Treasury Secretary Lew commented: “Antonio Weiss is exceptionally capable and qualified. He has deep expertise in financial markets … Given his tremendous expertise and shared passion for helping working families, I asked Antonio to join Treasury in a different role — as a counselor to me — and he accepted. In that role, he will provide advice to me on a broad range of domestic and international issues, including financial markets, regulatory reform, job creation, and fostering broad-based economic growth. It is a testament to Antonio’s character and commitment to public service that he is willing to serve his country in this capacity.”
Lew said he was “disappointed that Antonio Weiss will not have the opportunity to serve as Under Secretary, but I understand his request not to be re-nominated. I continue to believe that the opposition to his nomination was not justified.”