The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee last Tuesday unanimously approved Jonathan Adelstein's nomination to serve on the Federal Communications Commission.
The voice vote, which took place in a private "executive session" just off the Senate floor, clears the way for the full Senate to consider Adelstein, a 39-year-old aide to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.).
Adelstein — whose nomination was held up for months as senators squabbled over President Bush's judicial nominees — enjoyed "strong, bipartisan support from committee members," said Andy Davis, a spokesman for committee chairman Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-S.C.).
It was "uncertain" when the Senate would vote on Adelstein's nomination, said Daschle spokesman Jay Carson.
Adelstein is expected to be confirmed by a wide margin, although Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has threatened to delay the process until Bush nominates one of his allies to the Federal Election Commission.
If the Senate confirms Adelstein, he would become the fifth commissioner and the second Democrat on the FCC. The commission is presently comprised of three Republicans — including chairman Michael Powell — and a lone Democrat, Michael Copps.
Adelstein had been nominated to fill a vacancy created last September, when Gloria Tristani left the agency to run for the U.S. Senate as a Democrat from her home state of New Mexico.
Tristani joined the commission in November 1997; her term was set to expire on June 30, 2003. Adelstein would serve for the remainder of Tristani's term.
Unless the president nominates someone else to replace Adelstein when that term expires, he will be allowed to serve until Congress adjourns in late 2004.
FCC spokesman David Fiske said Adelstein is likely to be sworn in within days of his Senate confirmation.
During a Senate subcommittee hearing earlier this month regarding his nomination, Adelstein remained tight-lipped about his views on most specific issues facing the FCC.
Nonetheless, his pledges to promote competition and restore investor confidence in the beleaguered telecommunications industry elicited bipartisan praise from Commerce Committee lawmakers.
States News Service