Senate Commerce Committee Approves FCC Noms
June 19, 2009
The Senate Commerce Committee has approved the nomination of Julius Genachowski to head up the FCC, and approved the renomination of current Republican FCC commissioner Robert McDowell to a second term, according to Bloomberg.
In a statement, Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said “Julius Genachowski has my resounding support. He offers the public and private sector experience needed to reinvigorate the FCC and put consumers first.”
Rockefeller said he voted for McDowell too “in the spirit of bipartisanship,” however he has concerns. “I want to be clear that I have high expectations that Mr. McDowell will show great independence from the industries he regulates. I hope I am not disappointed," a reference to the way the FCC was run under Chairman Kevin Martin, also a Republican.
The votes came several days after hearings in which the Senate panel expressed concerns over how the FCC was run during the Bush era and urged Genachowski to bring more transparency to a commission that, according to Rockefeller had “shortchanged consumers and the public interest.”
“Too often FCC Commissioners have focused on making sure that the policies they advocate serve the needs of companies they regulate and their bottom lines,” Sen. Rockefeller said. He also passed along this advice: “Fix this agency or we will fix it for you.”
During the Tuesday hearing Genachowski told the panel that he opposed reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine—which requires broadcasters to give equal time to opposing sides—because he believes it violates the free speech clause in the First Amendment. He also expressed his concerns over broadcast indecency, saying that “the FCC’s job in this area is to enforce the law. Congress has been clear on the indecency law.”