Renominations of Adelstein, Tate Discussed at Hearing

Lott Hopes for Quick Action, But Rockefeller Balks

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.