Senate Commerce Committee chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) canceled a vote on
four Federal Communications Commission nominees Thursday, moments before Sen.
Jim Jeffords (R-Vt.) announced his decision to quit the Republican Party and
give Democrats control of the Senate.
In a statement, McCain said he 'intends to hold a mark-up off the Senate
floor at a time yet to be determined for the nominations that were scheduled for
McCain's move postponed a vote on the renomination of FCC chairman Michael
Powell and three new nominees: Republicans Kevin Martin and Kathleen Abernathy
and Democrat Michael Copps.
Jeffords announced that he would leave the GOP to become an Independent. His
move -- expected to become official once tax legislation reaches the White House
-- will give Democrats a 50-49 edge in the Senate, putting the party in power
for the first time since 1995.
Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.) is expected to replace McCain as Commerce
Committee chairman. Hollings was chairman in 1992 when a cable-reregulation bill