[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/06/art.dodd0306.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Dodd is backing a bill that would allow the FDIC to borrow up to $500 billion from the government."]
NEW YORK (Fortune) - The government is bracing for a big bank failure.
A bill introduced in Congress would give the FDIC, the agency that stands behind Americans' bank deposits, temporary authority to borrow as much as $500 billion from the government to shore up the deposit insurance fund.
The bill - the Depositor Protection Act of 2009, backed by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn. and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho –wouldn't change the status of individual bank accounts, which through the end of this year are insured up to $250,000.
But the Dodd-Crapo bill acknowledges what the financial markets have been signaling for the past month - that the government must take the lead in a costly cleanup of the mess in the financial sector.