Industry Reacts to Latest FCC Nomination

WASHINGTON—Accolades are coming in for President Obama’s GOP nominee to the FCC.

The White House said the president intends to nominate Michael O’Rielly to fill the slot left by former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell. O’Rielly has worked nearly two decades as a Republican staffer in Congress. Most recently, he was a top aide to Texas Sen. John Cornyn. O’Rielly has also advised former New Hampshire Sen. John Sununu and former House Commerce Committee Chairman Tom Bliley of Virginia on telecommunications issues.

Ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee John Thune of South Dakota said he got to know O’Rielly while he was an analyst at the Republican Policy Committee during Thune’s chairmanship and called him “bright, thoughtful, and articulate. He is a champion of the free market.”

While congratulating O’Rielly, Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said she “looks forward to his Senate confirmation.”

Industry reacted to the news as well.

O’Rielly, said NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith, “will bring years of public policy experience and a deep breadth of knowledge on telecom issues to the commission. Once confirmed, we look forward to working with him on matters of critical importance to free and local broadcasting.”

Consumer Electronics Association VP Regulatory Affairs Julie Kearney called the Republican congressional staffer “an excellent choice” who “has the keen ability to see the big picture while never losing sight of the details.”

The Senate Commerce Committee this week voted to send Tom Wheeler’s nomination for FCC chairman to the full Senate. Republicans indicated they wanted to wait for O’Rielly’s nomination to pair the two for a confirmation vote after the Senate returns from its August recess in September.

Both Kearney and Smith, too, hope for a quick Senate confirmation. So does Thune, who looks forward to expedited consideration of O’Rielly’s nomination that Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., “and others have pledged so both nominees can be confirmed by the full Senate in the near future.”