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Biden nominates lawyer to oversee retirement plans, worker benefits

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U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks to members of "the intelligence community workforce and its leadership" as he visits the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in nearby McLean, Virginia outside Washington, U.S., July 27, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

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NEW YORK, July 27 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden has nominated attorney Lisa Gomez to be the assistant secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration at the Department of Labor, overseeing private retirement plans, health plans and other worker benefits.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) covers $12.2 trillion in assets and has weighed in on controversial issues facing investors such as voting in shareholder meetings and retirement plan managers' using environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors to pick stocks.

Gomez is currently a partner at labor law firm Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP where she represents employer and union pension plans. Her nomination is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate. If confirmed, she will report to Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

She will replace Ali Khawar, who was acting assistant secretary for the EBSA and will remain principal deputy assistant secretary.

Earlier this year, the EBSA said it would not enforce two rules from the Trump administration that curbed ESG investing and voting in corporate annual meetings after the Labor Department heard they had a chilling effect and created confusion.

It has also recently issued new cybersecurity guidance.

Gomez, if confirmed, will also oversee criminal investigations relating to pension and Social Security fraud.

Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler
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