There is talk now on the Hill of a confirmation hearing June 16 for Julius Genachowski as FCC chair, plus some combination of at least one and maybe three more FCC nominees. The caveat is that Genachowski’s nomination hearing has been set once before, only to be cancelled almost in the same electronic breath.
This is definitely a one-source blog, but it is a good source, with a half of another source on part of it.
It is even possible all four nominees could be taken care of in one hearing, which would be Genachowski; South Carolina utility regulator Mignon Clyburn, also a Democrat; current Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell and, by most accounts, Meredith Attwell Baker, former NTIA acting head.
But it may only be two, Genachowski and McDowell, if the other two can’t get teed up in time.
If those shadows actually become the future, there could be a new chairman of the FCC by the July 2 public meeting. It might also mean that the June meeting was Democratic Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein’s last, since he has been nominated to head up the USDA Rural Utilities (RUS) Program.
Acting Chairman Michael Copps raised that possibility at this week’s meeeting, taking the opportunity to praise his colleague just in case. McDowell said he had nothing prepared, but also said he wasn’t assuming it would be the last meeting for Adelstein because it might be bad luck.
Also in in waiting mode is the president’s nominee to head up NTIA, Larry Strickling.
Asked Thursday whether a Senator had put a hold on that nomination after Strickling seemed to sail through his confirmation hearing, a telco lobbyist said no, that he thought it was that there were some vague answers that needed clarification, but nothing that would stand in the way of confirmation.
Verizon’s Top Washington Policy Executive Tom Tauke, himself a former legislator, said it was time for Congress to get the nominees in place, pointing to the FCC’s full plate of broadband and other issues.
That goes for the NTIA and RUS programs as well, which have billions of dollars in broadband stimulus money to hand out.