President Obama intends to nominate Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell for another term at the agency, which oversees wireless policy among other areas. McDowell was selected by former President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate in 2006. Former Commerce Department official Meredith Attwell Baker will reportedly join him as the other Republican commissioner on the five-seat commission.
It is unclear when McDowell will have a confirmation hearing. Obama's choice to lead the commission, Julius Genachowski, is still awaiting his hearing.
McDowell received praise both from within the FCC and from the industry. Acting FCC chairman Michael Copps said in a statement that he was "truly delighted" McDowell would continue as a commissioner. "Since becoming acting chairman several months ago, I appreciate more than ever Rob's collegiality, his openness, his creative intellect, and the deep sense of purpose he brings to his work," Copps said. "I especially want to thank him for all the talent and energy he has brought to our work on next week's DTV transition. He has traveled near and far to help consumers prepare and he has done an outstanding job in helping us deploy an extensive DTV Call Center operation."
CTIA also praised the move. "Since 2006, Mr. McDowell has clearly demonstrated his understanding and knowledge of the complexities of the telecommunications policy, and the unique attributes of the wireless industry," CTIA President Steve Largent said in a statement. "On behalf of the wireless industry, I congratulate Mr. McDowell on his nomination, and we at CTIA look forward to continuing to work with him." Sprint Nextel and Verizon also commended McDowell.
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