Formalizing a widely expected move, President Bush used his first working day
in office Monday to name Federal Communications Commission member Michael Powell
as the agency's new Republican chairman.
Powell, a lawyer and son of Secretary of State Colin Powell, will lead an FCC
controlled by two Republicans and two Democrats. A third FCC Republican needs to
be confirmed to give Powell a GOP majority to pass his agenda.
'I am deeply honored and privileged to have received President Bush's
designation to be chairman of the Federal Communication Commission,' Powell said
in a prepared statement. 'I look forward to working with the new administration,
Congress, my fellow commissioners and the very talented FCC staff on the
important and challenging communications issues facing our nation.'
House Commerce Committee chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.), who lobbied on
Powell's behalf, issued a statement hailing Bush's decision.
'In my opinion, this is one of President Bush's best and most exciting
selections for his new administration,' Tauzin said. 'For years, watching the
FCC work has been like watching an old black-and-white movie. But now, with
Michael Powell in charge, get ready for an FCC broadcast in HDTV
National Cable Television Association president Robert Sachs also applauded
Powell's selection. 'Michael Powell brings to the position a firm command of
issues before the FCC. He has been an outstanding commissioner and he will make
an excellent chairman,' Sachs said.
Powell, 38, was appointed to the FCC by President Clinton in 1997. His
current term expires in June 2002.
He replaces Democrat William Kennard, who resigned his chairmanship Jan. 19
to take a temporary position with the Aspen Institute.