Democrats in the House, including Ed Markey (D-MA), are worried that companies with pending issues may play for time. They would be hoping that Deborah Taylor Tate’s nomination to a new FCC term will stall, leaving the possibility of 2-2 party line deadlocks during the upcoming transition at the White House, with certain pending proposals “deemed granted” due to elapsed time. The phrase “deemed granted” is part of the Telecom Act of 1996, and is there to force government agencies to take action on matters of importance to companies with business before them. While Democrats are wary of affected companies using stalling tactics to prevail at an agency, and want the phrase removed. Republicans, on the other hand, are wary of bureaucrats simply sitting on proposals. According to Dow Jones, a compromise may be reached in which the deemed granted phrase goes by the boards as long as agencies are instructed to act within a reasonable time frame.
RBR/TVBR observation: Tate isn’t the only one with a term expiration looming – Jonathan Adelstein has already been on borrowed time as well, as of 6/30/08 – although such terms are considered to last until the sitting Congress adjourns for the year, usually in December. There has also been some gamesmanship planning this year regarding the precise timing of Kevin Martin’s exit should a Democrat capture the White House this November. Both presidential candidates may want to assign a staffer to put at least a little bit of thought into the matter of who they’d like to serve at the FCC, and when they’d like them to start, so they aren’t starting out ice cold in January 2009.