The Senate Commerce Committee sent the re-nomination of GOP FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly to the floor Wednesday. The vote provided clues to his prospects in that chamber.
In a voice vote, the committee passed
his re-nomination. However four Democrats opposed it. Ranking member
Maria Cantwell (WA) voted “no,” as did fellow Democrats Amy Klobuchar
(MN), Richard Blumenthal (CT), and Brian Schatz (HI). Cantwell explained
that in 2018, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel determined that
O’Rielly violated the Hatch Act with political comments made at a
conservative political action conference.
Cantwell also said that O’Rielly “had
recently injected, I believe, politics into part of the spectrum issue,”
which she said she found “disturbing.” It wasn’t clear what she was
The comments may be
an indication O’Rielly’s nomination could get mired in the various Hill
conflicts surrounding 5G spectrum battles that have dominated the
congressional calendar this year, reports Politico.
The Senate Commerce telecom subcommittee is holding a hearing today to
review how the FCC and the administration have handled recent wireless
However Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) said he looked forward to advancing O’Rielly’s nomination. “The
COVID-19 pandemic has Americans relying more on broadband than ever,
[and] technologies like telehealth and remote learning are advancing
rapidly,” Wicker said. “I appreciate O’Rielly’s commitment to speedy
services and ensuring we are targeting the areas that need it most.” Continue Reading