It was the best and worst of times for Federal Communications Commission members Jonathan Adelstein and Deborah Taylor Tate at a Senate Commerce Committee oversight hearing Thursday.
While the hearing dealt primarily with the FCC's planned Dec. 18 vote on media-ownership rules and criticism of the FCC process, the two commissioners' pending renominations also surfaced as a topic of conversation.
Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said he hoped the committee before he left could package a number of nominations together, including theirs, and vote to approve them. He had high praise for Adelstein and said he hoped Tate could keep the other commissioners in line.
But a stern Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), who talked about a total overhaul of the FCC next year, said he thought the renominations should be postponed until a new administration takes over. Since a single senator can effectively block a nomination, that did not bode well for the swift process Lott had lobbied for in what is likely the retiring senator's last appearance in a committee hearing.