When there’s an opening for a Democrat and a Republican on the FCC — as there is now — the custom is to approve both nominees together. But Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. VA) decided he’d waited long enough for his GOP colleagues to come up with a name to recommend to President Obama to replace Robert McDowell, who left in April. The committee voted today to approve Tom Wheeler, the former cable and mobile phone industry lobbyist the president chose to replace Julius Genachowski as chairman. Texas Republican Ted Cruz opposed Wheeler, fearing that he might require TV stations to disclose additional info about political advertisers — a decision that many members of Congress say that they should make, not the FCC. And Florida’s Marco Rubio said he may decide later to oppose Wheeler if he’s not satisfied that the nominee will crack down on indecent TV programming. National Cable & Telecommunications Association CEO Michael Powell, a former FCC chair, praised today’s vote saying that Wheeler’s “significant private sector experience and his deep understanding of economic issues that drive investment and innovation will serve him well in promoting a forward-looking agenda that encourages continued innovation and growth.”
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