Born three months premature, weighing two pounds and two ounces, Bimal Patel entered life facing long odds of growing up to tell the U.S. Senate of his improbable journey to being nominated for a top U.S. Treasury Department post.

As he told members of the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, he contracted pneumonia at two weeks old. “Doctors,” Patel said, “told my parents that I would never grow past four feet tall, that I would be incapacitated, and that I would die.”

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