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04.10.2006
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Senate politics delays McDowell FCC nomination

Robert McDowell, the Republican who would fill the last vacant seat on the FCC, is playing a waiting game. As a result, the FCC remains in partisan gridlock.

Any senator can block a full Senate vote on executive nominations and as many as two are doing just that with the McDowell appointment.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is blocking McDowell and other White House nominees due to her continuing displeasure with the president's response to Hurricane Katrina. She said she would continue to block the nominations until significant progress is made to secure White House commitments to levee protection and coastal restoration in Louisiana.

It was also reported that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.VA) had also placed a hold on executive nominations. Rockefeller is recuperating from back surgery.

The FCC has avoided taking on contentious, partisan issues-such as media ownership-until it has a full slate of members. Until the Senate issues are resolved and a vote is allowed, the waiting game will apparently continue.

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