O’Rielly getting his day on the Hill


U.S. CongressWhile many on the radio side of the broadcast community will be gathered in Orlando FL for the NAB/RAB Radio Show, Michael O’Rielly, President Barack Obama’s choice to fill the open Republican seat at the FCC, will be gathering with senators for a job interview.

O’Rielly will appear before the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday 9/18/13 at 2:30 PM Eastern.

Also on the agenda is the nomination of Terrell McSweeny to be Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission.

The greatest beneficiary of a swift approval for O’Rielly will be FCC Chairman-nominee and Democrat Tom Wheeler. He has already been approved by the Committee, but his nomination is still pending. This is because the Senate loves to move forward candidates from each party in tandem to keep the balance of power at the FCC in equilibrium.

The senators are aware of the numerous high-profile issues currently before the  Commission, and further, are looking forward to the infusion of cash into the national treasury that may be part of the incentive  auction program, so there is every chance things will move quickly once O’Rielly has been fully vetted.

RBR-TVBR observation: We suspect that O’Rielly will win approval by the Commerce Committee in a slam dunk. However, it will not come on the 18th – the actual yeas and nays are usually cast during a Committee business meeting on a subsequent date. That said, we note that every single commissioner who has passed through the Committee has won approval without any great amount of strife.

The biggest impediment to moving from the Commerce Committee to the FCC 8th Floor has rather been the presence of a single senator with a gripe. It doesn’t matter what the gripe is. The simple fact is that from time to time a single senator will try to get his way on whatever by putting a hold on a prospective commissioner’s confirmation vote.

Most recently, Charles Grassley (R-IA) put a hold on the confirmation of otherwise slam-dunk nominees Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai because he was upset about the FCC and LightSquared.

That prolonged delay at notable in that at the very least it actually involved an FCC issue. But it had not one single thing to do with the nominees, and frankly, this is one of those bizarre Senate rules we would like to see deep-sixed.

As a voter from a state other than Iowa, I have no say in whether or not Mr. Grassley is privileged to serve in the Senate or not – and the last thing I want is for him or anybody else to overrule a majority in pursuit of his own agenda.