Senate Commerce Committee To Vote This Week On FCC Pick
July 29, 2013
The Senate Commerce Committee plans to vote this week regarding Tom Wheeler, President Barack Obama's nominee to be the new FCC Chairman. The vote is expected to occur as soon as Tuesday, according to a report from Politico.com, and it is likely to be the panel's last order of business before Congress departs for its August recess. However, the committee's vote would not install Wheeler as the new head of the FCC just yet — that only comes after full Senate approval. And it may be months before that occurs, because Republicans aren't willing to advance Wheeler unless President Obama first submits a candidate for the FCC's open GOP slot. At this time, the White House has not yet put forth a Republican name.
Obama tapped Wheeler for the top FCC post in May, and the nominee then faced the Commerce Committee for his confirmation hearing in June. At that time, Wheeler outlined his background as a telecom lobbyist but said he will not use it to play favorites. He also called himself "an advocate of diversity of voices" when asked about media consolidation and ownership rules.
Wheeler is expected to eventually win the Senate's approval without any difficulty, notes Politico, but it's almost impossible for that to happen before the August break. That leaves the FCC for now with only three members, including acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn.