Key members of the House Commerce Committee have asked Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) to support Andrew Levin, an aide to Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), to fill the FCC seat vacated by Glorida Tristani.
"Despite our partisan and philosophical differences, we depend on Andy Levin as an advisor and a friend," wrote Reps. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), John Dingell (D-Mich.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.). "Based on our experience with him, we know that we will be able to depend on Andy as an FCC commissioner."
Sources say Levin and Montana Public Service Commissioner Bob Rowe are at the top of a short list of possible nominees to the commission, particularly since former TCI, AT&T Broadband and NCTA lobbyst David Krone, who was backed by Daschle, took his name out of consideration. The Hispanic Congressional Caucus has endorsed Joe Garcia, executive director of the Cuban-American National Foundation and formerly a member of the Florida Public Service Commission. But sources say caucus members recognize that Garcia is unlikely to be nominated and are willing to back Levin.
Still, rural-based Rowe has strong backing from Montana Senators Max Baucus (D) and Conrad Burns (R), sources say, and that Baucus is pushing hard for Daschle's support. Sources also say the White House has ceded the choice to Daschle and Hill Democrats.
House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) and Whip David Bonior (D-Mich.) already have sent Daschle a letter supporting Levin, and sources say Democratic senators now are circulating a letter backing him.
- Paige Albiniak