Senate Panel Tees Up McDowell

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Robert McDowell, nominated by President Bush to serve on the Federal Communications Commission, is moving closer to winning Senate confirmation that would produce a GOP majority at the agency, which regulates the cable, phone and broadcast industries.

The Senate Commerce Committee announced Monday that it would vote on confirming McDowell Thursday. McDowell -- who breezed through his confirmation hearing last Thursday in about 20 minutes -- is expected to gain the panel’s backing.

McDowell is senior vice president and assistant general counsel of COMPTEL, a trade group representing rivals to Baby Bell phone companies.

Senate Commerce Committee chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said after last week's hearing that full Senate confirmation of McDowell was possible by the end of March.