Senate-White House Deal Clears Adelstein

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A three-way agreement involving the White House and the two Senate leaders
has evidently cleared the way for Jonathan Adelstein to occupy the fifth and
final seat at the Federal Communications Commission.

Adelstein, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), was
blocked in March by Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) after a Lott
ally, U.S. Judge Thomas Pickering, was rejected by the Senate Judiciary
Committee for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

This week, Daschle, Lott and Bush aides reached a compromise intended to
break the deadlock over Adelstein and dozens of other important appointments
needing Senate confirmation.

Adelstein, 39, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee
July 16. If confirmed, he would join fellow Democrat Michael Copps at the
agency. The FCC's three Republicans are chairman Michael Powell and
commissioners Kevin Martin and Kathleen Abernathy.

Senate politics still threaten to hobble Adelstein's progress.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has vowed to block every presidential nomination
until President Bush nominates Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat, to the Federal
Election Commission. Weintraub is viewed as a McCain ally on implementation of
recently enacted campaign-finance-reform law.

A Daschle spokeswoman said both Daschle and Lott have committed to muster the
60 votes needed to overcome McCain's objections.

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