WASHINGTON Senate on Saturday postponed until next year decisions on whether to approve President Barack Obama's choices to lead agencies that oversee the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.
Several of Obama's picks are waiting to be confirmed by the Senate, including Martin Gruenberg to be chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, Thomas Hoenig to be the FDIC's vice chair and Thomas Curry to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
But Republicans refused to sign off on the list, complaining that the White House did not give them assurances Obama would not use a long congressional recess to make temporary appointments.
As a result, the Senate will hold a series of "pro forma" sessions between now and January 23, when legislative action is expected to resume, blocking such "recess appointments."
A few outstanding nominees, such as Obama's pick for the U.S. ambassador to Moscow and assistant secretary of state, managed to win approval during the Senate's last day of work for the year.
Also, the Senate Finance Committee approved on Saturday the administration's choice of Mary Miller for the Treasury Department's top domestic finance post in charge of overseeing using policy and the implementation of Dodd-Frank.
As well, the Senate panel backed longtime government aide Alastair Fitzpayne to be the Treasury Department's chief legislative affairs official.
Miller and Fitzpayne must still be confirmed by the full Senate.
(Reporting By Dave Clarke, Doug Palmer and Rachelle Younglai; Editing by Eric Walsh)