Washington weighs in on FCC confirmations


FCCThe unanimous Senate approval of the nominees Tom Wheeler to become the next Chairman of the FCC and of Michael O’Rielly to be the second sitting Republican Commissioner generated the usual round of congratulations and commentary for interested parties inside the Beltway. Here’s what people and organizations had to say.

Among the first to offer congratulations was Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, who also received many compliments in tandem with the congratulations offered to Wheeler and O’Rielly.

* Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn: “I congratulate Tom Wheeler and Michael O’Rielly on their Senate confirmations. Tom brings a tremendous depth of experience, talent, and knowledge that will serve him well as the leader of this critically important agency. I have no doubt that he will be an outstanding FCC Chairman. With his extensive public policy expertise and understanding of the communications landscape, Michael will certainly be an invaluable asset to the Commission. The FCC family enthusiastically welcomes both Tom and Michael. I look forward to working with them, along with my current colleagues at the Commission, to further communications policies that advance the public interest, bolster competition, empower consumers, and spur new waves of innovation that grow our economy and create jobs.”

* NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith: NAB strongly supported the nominations of both Tom Wheeler and Michael O’Rielly and we are pleased with their confirmation. We also salute the superb job done by Mignon Clyburn during her tenure as acting chair. Broadcasters look forward to working with a full complement of commissioners in the months and years ahead. Local radio and TV stations will continue our evolution to new distribution platforms, mindful that broadcasting remains an indispensable source of news, entertainment and lifeline information to communities across America.”

* Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV): “I congratulate Tom Wheeler and Mike O’Rielly on their Senate confirmation. Tom Wheeler will be a strong advocate for consumers and the public interest at a time when the FCC is facing decisions that will shape the future of our nation’s telephone network and the wireless, broadband, and video industries. And Tom will be a partner in giving students access to the latest technology in their classrooms so they have the skills to compete and succeed in the twenty-first century workforce. I look forward to working with both Tom and Mike to harness the power of technology for every American, no matter where they live.”

* Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD): “I am very pleased that the Senate has confirmed both Mr. Wheeler and Mr. O’Rielly today so that the FCC will be able to operate with a full slate of Commissioners. I believe that Mr. Wheeler will competently and capably serve the nation in his new role as chairman of the FCC, and that Mr. O’Rielly will use his extensive legislative background to advocate free market principles and a light regulatory touch when it comes to issues before the Commission. I especially appreciate both nominees’ commitment to be mindful of rural communications issues as they craft the FCC’s agenda.”

* ACA President/CEO Matthew M. Polka: “ACA congratulates Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner O’Rielly on their Senate confirmation this evening. We look forward to working with them as well as Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai on addressing the critical communications policy issues facing the country. We also look forward to continuing our constructive relationship with Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who deserves special praise for keeping the FCC’s agenda on track while serving as Acting Chairwoman these past few months.”

* CEA President/CEO Gary Shapiro: “We applaud the Senate on the confirmations of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly. Chairman Wheeler takes the helm of the FCC at a critical time where action is required to reallocate spectrum for wireless broadband and other services. Our nation needs strong FCC leadership to make this goal a reality. CEA and its more than 2,000 member technology companies look forward to working with Chairman Wheeler, Commissioner O’Rielly and the full FCC on spectrum reallocation and other issues vital to innovation and our nation. We thank and congratulate Acting Chairwoman Clyburn for her terrific, honorable and exemplary leadership as Acting Chairwoman.”

* Free Press President/CEO Craig Aaron: “Now that the government shutdown is over and Sen. Ted Cruz has lifted his hold, the Federal Communications Commission will finally have all five commissioners in place. We look forward to working with the new chairman and the newest commissioner to create an FCC that actually looks out for the public interest. “We had plenty of questions about the choice of Mr. Wheeler, but what matters is what you do once you’re sitting in the big chair. And there is a lot to do: connecting all Americans to the wonders of the open Internet, encouraging meaningful competition, diversifying media ownership, and making sure that this crucial agency has the power to protect people everywhere when predatory or powerful corporations step over the line. Mr. Wheeler has an opportunity to transform the media, technology and this agency for the better. But that will require a different approach to this powerful pulpit from most of the chairmen who came before him. The new chairman has been in Washington for many years, and we hope one of the first things he will do is commit to going outside the Beltway, getting away from the lobbyists, and meeting face to face with the American people. We also congratulate Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn for her exemplary leadership at the agency these past few months. She accomplished a great deal in a short time and engaged a wide range of stakeholders. Her approach should be a model for Mr. Wheeler.”

* NHMC EVP Jessica Gonzalez: “NHMC is looking forward to working with Chairman Wheeler as he navigates some of the most difficult issues that the FCC has ever considered. At every step of the way, NHMC urges the Chairman to consider how the Commission’s actions will impact underserved communities – including the Latino community – and strive to create a media and telecommunications ecosystem, and a Commission, that is more inclusive of the diversity of this country. NHMC looks forward to being a resource to the Chairman throughout his tenure, and to an open and collaborative relationship with his office. We also send our heartfelt congratulations and gratitude to Commissioner Clyburn on her historic turn at leading the Commission. Not only was she the first woman, and the first African-American woman, to lead the agency, but through her will and resolve she presided over an incredibly productive time at the FCC, even in the face of a difficult environment in Washington, D.C. Her tenure was marked with historic accomplishments, including action to lessen the burden of exorbitant prison phone rates on families of inmates. She also set into motion what NHMC hopes will be the most in-depth and complete look at media industry diversity and the information needs of communities that the Commission has ever undertaken. She has certainly set a high bar for what can be expected of an FCC Chair and we look forward to continuing to work very closely with her at the Commission.”

* PTC President Tim Winter. “The PTC offers its congratulations to Mr. Wheeler and Mr. O’Rielly on their new positions at the FCC. We expect that they will put the interests of children and families first as they work on broadcast indecency issues. We know that Mr. Wheeler agrees with millions of Americans that there’s an indecency problem on the public airwaves. As the leader of the FCC, we trust that he will enforce the current law as he is obliged to do. Given the outpouring of support for the broadcast indecency law by the American people, we urge Mr. Wheeler and the rest of the Commission to strike down a proposal issued by the previous FCC chairman to only pursue ‘egregious’ broadcast indecency complaints. Only pursuing select complaints from the public about indecent TV or radio content will lead to broadcasters pushing the decency limits even further – including the airing of nudity or harsh profanity when millions of children are in the audience. This must not happen. We trust that Mr. Wheeler will put the interests of families first on this one vs. the desires of the entertainment industry.”

* American Television Alliance: ATVA congratulates Tom Wheeler on his confirmation as FCC Chairman and Mike O’Reilly on his confirmation as FCC Commissioner. The experience and backgrounds of both men make them excellent additions to the Commission and all Americans stand to benefit from their service. We look forward to working with both of them.”