Conrad Burns, former broadcaster and ranking Republican on the Senate
Communications Subcommittee, called on Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.)
to end the political fray over the vacant Federal Communications Commission
'We've got a little war going on over there, and we've got to take care of
that this week,' the Montana Republican said during an NAB 2002 congressional
breakfast in Las Vegas.
Burns quickly laughed off such a quick turnaround, but he made it clear that
a fight over filling the empty Democratic seat could stall key public-policy
decisions over spectrum management, media ownership and digital TV if the
appointment remains snagged.
Lott has vowed to block the appointment of Jonathan Adelstein, an aide to
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) in response to the defeat of Lott
confidant Charles Pickering for a federal judgeship.
Although Burns said he wants the fight to be resolved quickly, he also used
the opportunity to stump for his own candidate, Montana public-service
commissioner Bob Rowe. 'The competition for that spot is very much in play,' he
Adelstein was the compromise pick for the seat after lawmakers previously
blocked Rowe and other leading candidates due to various political disputes.
Daschle, for instance, has been loath to appoint a Burns-favored pick.
Another leading candidate whose fortunes may have been resurrected is Andrew
Levin, aide to Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.). Levin's appointment, however, has
been opposed by Senate Commerce Committee chairman Ernest Hollings