The last hurdle to getting the FCC’s 8th Floor up to full strength has been cleared by Tom Wheeler and Michael O’Rielly, and now all that’s left is the swearing in after a hold on Wheeler’s confirmation has been removed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Both were confirmed by unanimous vote.
Cruz said that after meeting with Wheeler, he was assured that his primary concern, a unilateral FCC push to force disclosure of sponsorship for political ads, was not a high priority. According to reports, Cruz was also receiving pressure from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who was said to be preparing to work around Cruz’s hold and hold the vote on the two nominees.
Wheeler stated, “I am humbled by the Senate’s confirmation and I look forward to taking the oath of office in the coming days. I am deeply grateful to President Obama for his confidence in nominating me for this position. Chairwoman Clyburn has led the Commission with dedication and vision for six months. We all owe Chairwoman Clyburn a huge thank you. The Chairwoman, along with Commissioners Rosenworcel and Pai and the FCC staff dealt with important issues that kept policy and the country moving forward. Congratulations to Commissioner O’Rielly for his Senate confirmation. We will be joining a dynamic and dedicated team at the FCC.”
Looking ahead, he added, “What excites me about this new responsibility is how we are at a hinge moment of history; the Internet is the greatest communications revolution in the last 150 years. We must all dedicate ourselves to encouraging its growth, expanding what it enables, and assuring its users’ rights are respected.”