WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats are launching a final attempt before the Senate adjourns at the end of the week to confirm several federal bank regulatory nominees.
The Senate Banking Committee is expected to approve Thursday the nominations of Jeremy Stein and Jerome Powell to the Federal Reserve Board, as well as Jeremiah Norton as an independent director on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. board.
Democrats are hoping that those three — as well as three other pending nominations for the FDIC and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency — can be approved by the full Senate before the Spring Break recess.
"Chairman [Tim] Johnson remains hopeful that we can start to move these nominees forward," said a spokesman for the Banking Committee. "He thinks it's imperative that we fill the vacancies at our financial regulators as the economy continues its recovery."
But there are already signs of trouble. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Sen. David Vitter, R-La., plans to place a hold on the two Fed nominees.
It remains possible, however, that the Senate could still act on the FDIC and OCC nominations. The Banking Committee approved the nominations last year of Marty Gruenberg as chairman of the FDIC, Tom Curry as the Comptroller of the Currency, and Tom Hoenig as vice chairman of the FDIC, but the three were held up over a battle over the leadership of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
When President Obama recess-appointed Richard Cordray to head the consumer agency in January, some observers said Republicans would retaliate and no longer approve any financial nominees.
But Sen. Richard Shelby said last week that the two issues should not be connected.
"I wouldn't link it at all," he said.
Privately, sources said there is a good chance that Gruenberg, Curry, Hoenig and Norton — one Democrat, one Independent, and two Republicans, respectively — could be approved as a package deal.
"It's typical before a recess that a package of nominees is considered," said a source familiar with the negotiations.