Senate approves McDowell for commissioner post

The Senate confirmed Robert McDowell May 26 to serve as a FCC commissioner.

McDowell fills the seat left empty by the December 2005 departure of Kathleen Abernathy. His term will expire in 2009. McDowell comes to the commission after working as a lawyer for Comptel, a telecom trade association representing smaller carriers.

Since December, the commission has operated with Republicans Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate and Democrats Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps, creating a 2-2 party split. With his approval, the Republican McDowell will add a fifth and deciding vote, which is likely to be required to advance work on contentious issues facing the commission, including reform of media ownership rules.

In a statement released following McDowell’s approval, Martin said he is “anxious to have him onboard” and that he looks forward to having “a full complement of Commissioners” to address pending issues.

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