The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. appears on track to get three members confirmed by year's end, but the full complement of five isn't likely to be settled amid political maneuvering.
Sen. Tim Johnson (D., S.D.), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and the panel's top Republican, Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.) said they plan to move forward with three nominees for the FDIC's board. They are: Martin Gruenberg to be FDIC chairman, former Kansas City Fed president Thomas Hoenig as vice chairman and Thomas Curry to be Comptroller of the Currency.
The banking panel on Tuesday approved Mr. Hoenig's nomination on a voice vote. After voting, Sens. Johnson and Shelby said they would work together to move all three nominees through the full Senate.
However, lawmakers remain at a stalemate about the fate of two other slots on the FDIC board, including one designated for the director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. President Obama has nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to that position, but his nomination is meeting resistance from Senate Republicans who want to alter the consumer bureau's structure.
A fifth spot on the board is for a Republican-backed nominee, in keeping with a requirement that the FDIC's board not be dominated by one political party, but President Obama hasn't put forth a candidate for that position.
Mr. Hoenig, who isn't affiliated with either party, was submitted for the FDIC job by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). Mr. Hoenig is well-liked by Republicans because he was a frequent dissenter from Fed decisions to push down interest rates. He has been a harsh critic of big banks, calling for tight limits on their activities. That stance is anathema to the nation's largest financial firms.
The wrangling follows last year's passage of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law, which was intended to put an end to the concept of "Too Big to Fail"—the idea that a company that is so large and interconnected that its collapse could harm the whole financial system and require a bailout by the government.
The financial overhaul law gave the FDIC the power to wind down such large, failing institutions. The agency has established a new office overseeing the most complex financial firms. Regulators have given the largest U.S. banks until next summer to provide them with a "living will" that would present a road map for how they would be liquidated if they fail.
Separately, Senate lawmakers approved two other Obama nominees: Maurice Jones, to be deputy secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Carol Galante of California, to be an assistant HUD secretary and head of the Federal Housing Administration. Ms. Galante, however, was approved only by a 13-9 vote, with Republicans expressing concerns about the FHA's financial health.
This story first appeared on WSJ.com.