The Senate Commerce Committee set a hearing yesterday to consider the nomination of Julius Genachowski as the next Federal Communications Commission chairman for June 16. At that time, it will also consider reappointing Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell. This is great news, given that the current administration is spending billions on broadband in the next 15 months, and there are several other pressing issues that the FCC needs to undertake, such as universal service fund reform and the formulation of a nationwide broadband plan. The commission has been in a holding pattern as it waited for its new chairman to be confirmed.
The goal appears to be to get these two appointed before the Congress recesses for July 4, and would result in three commissioners being settled into their roles. A report out yesterday from Stifel Nicolaus predicts that Mignon Clyburn, a commissioner with the South Carolina Public Service Commission, who has been nominated by President Obama to the FCC, will have her confirmation hearing in conjunction with Meredith Atwell Baker, a former head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in the Bush administration, who Obama is expected to nominate. The report said their confirmation hearing will likely wait until later this summer, or possibly early fall. Let’s get this party started.