New commissioners an afterthought at FCC oversight hearing


U.S. CongressNewly-minted FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai were in attendance at the Wednesday 5/16/12 Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the agency. But unless you were in the room and had a good view of the witness table, you’d be hard-pressed to testify to that fact.

The duration of the hearing was truncated due to business on the Senate floor, and one of the effects of that situation was to cause the deletion of three of five opening statement oral presentations. Only Chairman Julius Genachowski and ranking Republican Robert McDowell were heard from. Mignon Clyburn, the #3 commissioner in terms of seniority, joined the two rookies on the oral sidelines.

During the similarly-truncated question-and-answer portion of the hearing, and with few exceptions, questions tended to go to Genachowski and McDowell, since they have the vast bulk of experience dealing with the various topics.

In fairness to the three slighted Commissioners, they were joined by all but four of the Senators present. The leaders of the full committee and the communications subcommittee were the only members heard from during the opening statement phase of the hearing.