The U.S. Senate has unanimously confirmed President Obama's two nominees to the FCC, following a delay due to the government shutdown and a hold on the process from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Cruz lifted the hold on Tom Wheeler's nomination as Chairman, as the Senator said he was assured the FCC would not immediately aim to make changes involving political TV advertising, reports the New York Times. Cruz had been concerned about potential changes in the disclosure of funding for political TV ads.
Cruz released a statement on Tuesday, saying he had met with Wheeler and "heard the unambiguous message" that new disclosure requirements without Congressional approval "would imperil the commission's vital statutory responsibilities, and he [Wheeler] explicitly stated that doing so was ‘not a priority.'"
In addition to Wheeler's confirmation as Chairman, Michael O'Rielly becomes the newest Republican Commissioner in the FCC.
Acting FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said in a statement, "I congratulate Tom Wheeler and Michael O’Rielly on their Senate confirmations. Tom brings a tremendous depth of experience, talent, and knowledge that will serve him well as the leader of this critically important agency. I have no doubt that he will be an outstanding FCC Chairman. With his extensive public policy expertise and understanding of the communications landscape, Michael will certainly be an invaluable asset to the Commission. The FCC family enthusiastically welcomes both Tom and Michael. I look forward to working with them, along with my current colleagues at the Commission, to further communications policies that advance the public interest, bolster competition, empower consumers, and spur new waves of innovation that grow our economy and create jobs."
NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith has released a statement, commenting on the FCC confirmations. Smith says, "NAB strongly supported the nominations of both Tom Wheeler and Michael O'Rielly and we are pleased with their confirmation. We also salute the superb job done by Mignon Clyburn during her tenure as acting chair. Broadcasters look forward to working with a full complement of commissioners in the months and years ahead. Local radio and TV stations will continue our evolution to new distribution platforms, mindful that broadcasting remains an indispensable source of news, entertainment and lifeline information to communities across America."