Thursday, July 23, 2020

Panel Sends O’Rielly FCC Nomination to Full Senate

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 referring to. 
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 decisions.

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

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