No Unanimous Consent Vote For FCC Nominees

Cruz said to be sticking point; Michael O'Rielly is successfully voted out of Commerce Committee

At press time, there was no official word on the push to confirm FCC chair nominee Tom Wheeler, a Democrat, and commissioner Michael O'Rielly, a Republican, but industry sources monitoring the Hill move said it now looked like the fast-track effort by some on both sides of the aisle had not succeeded.

Committee members were still said to be trying to work it out at press time.

Late in the Senate session Wednesday, O'Rielly by unanimous consent was discharged successfully from the Commerce Committee in a floor move presided over by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). That means he and Wheeler have both now been approved out of the committee and are awaiting that full Senate vote. But there was no unanimous consent to confirm them.

Earlier in the day there was an effort by Republicans and Democrats to confirm both by unanimous consent, but a single Senator can block that effort and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is on the record as not being happy with Wheeler's answer to a nomination hearing question about the FCC potentially beefing up political ad disclosures--Wheeler said he would not prejudge the issue.

Cruz's office had not gotten back to B&C/Multi at press time on whether he gave his consent, but an industry source said they understood that Cruz had, indeed, objected to Wheeler's confirmation, which led Democrats to back off unanimous consent of O'Rielly's nomination as well.