Senate confirms Genachowski to top FCC post

The Senate confirmed Julius Genachowski to be the new chairman of the FCC after months of delay. Genachowski was officially nominated in March and his confirmation hearing had been delayed until this month.

The Senate also confirmed current commissioner Robert McDowell for a second term at the commission. Right now he remains the lone Republican on the five-member panel. Both Genachowski's and McDowell's nominations were approved by the Senate Commerce Committee last week.

Obama announced his intention to nominate former Bush administration official Meredith Attwell Baker for the remaining Republican seat on the FCC. 

Baker was formerly the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the Commerce Department. However, she came under criticism when the NTIA was forced to start a waiting list for people who were seeking coupons for digital TV converter boxes. The waiting list issue was one of the main reasons the DTV transition was delayed from Feb. 17 to June 12.  

Currently the FCC is operating with just three commissioners. Michael Copps, a Democrat, has been serving as the acting chairman, and Jonathan Adelstein, also a Democrat, has been slated to leave the commission and run the Rural Utilities Service. McDowell is the other commissioner. 

Baker's nomination will likely proceed along with that of Mignon Clyburn. Clyburn, a commissioner for the South Carolina Public Service Commission and the daughter of House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C), was nominated for one of the Democratic seats on the commission.

For more:
- see this Down Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)

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