Today, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to confirm President Obama’s two nominations to the Federal Communications Commission, overcoming obstacles by Republican lawmakers. Tom Wheeler was confirmed as Chairman along with Michael O’Rielly as a commissioner, filling the two FCC seats that have been empty since the previous chairman and a Republican member announced their resignations in March.
The vote came after Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) lifted a hold earlier in the day on the nomination of Tom Wheeler as chairman, with Sen Cruz saying he had received assurances from him that the commission would not immediately pursue changes for political advertising on television. Sen Cruz had blocked consideration of Wheeler’s nomination two weeks ago, saying he was worried that Wheeler would push the FCC to expand disclosure requirements for political advertisements on television.
The confirmations of Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner O’Rielly bring the agency back to its full slate of five commissioners — three of them Democrats and two Republicans — and will allow the FCC to get to work on several pressing issues that have not moved forward since the former chairman’s resignation.