Ness on hold



Democratic FCC Commissioner Susan Ness may find her nomination bottled up in the Commerce Committee through the end of the congressional session.

If the Senate does not confirm her for a second, five-year term, her job will end in October, when the current congressional session ends. Ness already has a de facto job extension-her term ended last June, but commissioners are permitted to remain until their replacements have been confirmed. Hill sources say Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) is not inclined to move on Ness.

Ness does have supporters in the committee who can pressure McCain: ranking member Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). Even if the Ness matter gets out of committee, the opposition of a single senator can thwart her on the Senate floor.

Most agree Ness'best chance is as part of a deal Republicans may strike to get some of their nominees approved, although no such deal is currently in the works.