White House nominates Adelstein

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The White House late Wednesday finally sent the nomination of Jonathan
Adelstein, legislative counsel to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.),
to the Senate for confirmation.

Daschle last November recommended to the White House that Adelstein be
nominated to the position of Federal Communications Commission commissioner, and
President George W. Bush said in February that he intended to nominate
Adelstein, but no nomination has been sent until now.

Adelstein has been the victim of political disputes between Daschle and
Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), and also between Sen. John McCain
(R-Ariz.) and other senators.

McCain's objections still could derail Adelstein's bid for commissioner
because McCain is maintaining a hold on all nominees until Bush agrees to
appoint Democrat Ellen Weintraub to the Federal Election Commission during the
Senate's August recess, thereby bypassing a lengthy Senate confirmation process
for Weintraub.

McCain wants Weintraub to join the FEC as soon as possible because he is
concerned that the current commission is passing rules that will gut his
campaign-finance-reform legislation, which was just passed by Congress last spring.

Daschle told reporters Wednesday that the White House is still vetting
Weintraub's nomination, and "that's going to take a little time."

Meanwhile, Daschle said, he plans to bring up every nomination individually
and ask for "cloture," which requires getting the votes of 60 senators to pass a
bill.

That's tough in the Senate right now, because the split between Democrats and
Republicans is 50-49 with one independent, Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont.

The Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a confirmation hearing for
Adelstein Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for McCain said he does not oppose holding hearings, but he
will continue to block votes until he gets the assurances he seeks on Weintraub.

That the Senate is moving nominations at all, however, shows progress.

Daschle and Lott have been locked in a battle over nominees after Democrats
in March voted down the nomination of one of Lott's closest friends, Judge
Charles Pickering, to a federal judgeship.

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