What the Senate actually did is approve O’Rielly for a full term. His is currently filling out the term of Robert McDowell, who left early to pursue other interests.
He was nominated for a full term by President Obama in October. The Senate Commerce Committee finally cleared the nomination Tuesday 12/16/14 and the full Senate quickly made it official.
According to The Hill, his confirmation was one of the last acts of the 113th Congress as it cleared out unfinished business to go on a holiday break.
O’Rielly’s time on the Commission began in November 2013.
NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith stated, “NAB congratulates Commissioner O’Rielly on his confirmation to a full five-year FCC term. We deeply appreciate his commitment to public service, his grasp of difficult public policy issues, and his acknowledgement of the enduring value of broadcast localism.”
At the time of his nomination by Obama, O’Rielly stated, “I am extremely humbled and appreciative of the action by President Obama to consider and approve my nomination to a new term as a Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission. In my tenure at the Commission, I have appreciated the opportunity to work with my colleagues and the great people at this institution on the dynamic communications policy issues before us. The announcement by the President is an important step in the process, and I respect and honor the role that the U.S. Senate will undertake to consider my nomination as it determines appropriate.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Despite the rampant partisan and ideological warfare that characterizes the current state of things in Washington, the FCC is one of those places where each party is given considerable latitude regarding who they put up for an FCC nomination.
There is no way on this planet that Barack Obama would pick Michael O’Rielly for this slot if he could seat whomsoever he pleased.
But the Republicans get two seats, and Democrats generally allow them to put forth any name then want – just as George W. Bush would never in his wildest dreams have selected Michael Copps if he’d had his druthers.
The lone exception to this rule is when the identity of the FCC Chairman is determined, and even there, both Obama and Bush have had no trouble getting their picks confirmed.