Thune gets top GOP spot on Commerce Committee


John ThuneJay Rockefeller (D-WV) is continuing on as Chairman of the influential Senate Commerce Committee, and the Republicans have finally gotten around to naming his opposite number – the individual taking the Ranking Member role most recently held by retired Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) is John Thune (R-SD).

During our years of reporting on Congress, RBR-TVBR has no recollection of a strong stand on any broadcast issue on Thune’s part.

A search of Thune’s official Senate website also failed to yield any information on his thoughts on broadcast legislation. He was, however, a member of the panel’s Communications Subcommittee.

It had been speculated that Thune’s leadership role – he’s the Republican Conference Chairman – might preclude a committee chair, but his new status been added to the Commerce Committee without fanfare.

The new membership of the Communications Subcommittee is as yet unannounced. All of the top four members listed from the 112th Congress are out or on their way out of the Senate – John Kerry (D-MA) has just been confirmed as Secretary of State, Dan Inouye (D-HI) passed away, Jim DeMint (R-SC) has left the Senate for a conservative think tank and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) has retired.

Thune is next in line and unlikely to get another Commerce chair, and Roger Wicker (R-MS) is behind him.

On the Democratic side, Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is at the top of the list of still-active senators from last year’s Communications roster.