Senate moving on Genachowski nomination next week

Next week a Senate panel will consider Julius Genachowski's nomination as the next FCC chairman. This will end a political stalemate that has pitted Democrats seeking to fill the commission's seats sooner rather than later against Republicans who had stalled the nomination while they decided on a nominee to pair with Genachowski.

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on Genachowski's nomination May 12. President Obama officially nominated Genachowski in early March, although it had been speculated that he would be the choice for the post since mid-January. Republicans have yet to decide on who they will nominate to pair with Genachowski. Some of the options reportedly being considered by the Republicans include Ajit Pai, a former congressional staffer and deputy general counsel at the FCC, and Lee Carosi Dunn, a long-time staffer to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz).    

It is not clear whether the committee will vote just on Genachowski's nomination, or on a slate of nominees. Obama nominated Mignon Clyburn, a commissioner for the South Carolina Public Service Commission and the oldest daughter of House majority whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), for an open commission seat last week. 

Currently, the five-member commission only has three seats filled: Democrats Michael Copps, the acting chairman, and Jonathan Adelstein, who will be leaving the commission to head the Rural Utilities Service. Adelstein will leave once Genachowski is confirmed by the full Senate. Robert McDowell, a Republican, has the other seat, although his term expires this year. He can serve until the end of the year if Obama does not nominate another commissioner. 

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