FCC Commissioner Susan Ness is watching the clock run out on her term. A spokesman for Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) says Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) has made it clear that he does not plan to bring Ness' nomination up for a committee vote. No McCain staffers were available to comment.
It is theoretically possible that Ness could get reconfirmed as part of a larger deal in which Republicans would trade their desired appointments for Democratic appointments, but even a Senate Democrat says that is an unlikely scenario. Several Washington sources said that Ness lacks champions both in the Senate and in the Clinton administration, and add that Vice President Al Gore doesn't seem inclined to keep her in place if he wins the presidency. "Basically, I think the sins of the FCC are being visited upon her," said one Senate staffer.