Federal Communications Commission member Jonathan Adelstein is expected to be confirmed within days for a new five-year term, Senate Commerce Committee chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Thursday
“He deserves to be confirmed. We’re going to do it today or tomorrow,” McCain told reporters Thursday after Adelstein sailed through his confirmation hearing.
Adelstein, a Democrat, was originally required to leave the FCC on the day Congress adjourns. Many suspected that his career at the agency was finished, especially after his mentor, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), lost his re-election bid Nov. 2.
At the hearing, Adelstein, accompanied by his wife and two children, repeated his commitment to bringing advanced communications to rural America and fighting excessive media-ownership concentration.
In addition to McCain, Adelstein garnered the support of Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), providing critical bipartisan backing.
The White House nominated Adelstein just a few days ago, after letting his appointment languish for many months. Dorgan lashed out at the White House for leaving Adelstein in limbo for so long.
“That [nomination] was not sent down to the Congress, deliberately so, showing, in my judgment, an arrogance and partisanship that is very unusual,” Dorgan said. “Seldom is that sort of behavior so apparent and so appalling.”
Adelstein’s reappointment won’t alter the power structure at the FCC. The five-member agency is controlled by three Republican Bush appointees.
McCain told reporters Adelstein deserved better treatment.
“In the case of Adelstein, Dorgan had a good point,” McCain said. “For two years, the guy’s name had been up to the White House.”
Over the past few months, McCain joined several Senate Democrats in urging the White House to support Adelstein.
“The problem had been, as you know, that they just never sent his paperwork over,” McCain said. “I never thought he was derailed because of Dashle’s defeat because he had support from other Democrats, like Dorgan and many others.”