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Sen. Ted Cruz Halts Vote on FCC Chairmanship

Texas Republican has put a temporary hold on any Senate vote on Tom Wheeler’s nomination as FCC chairman

Fresh from a losing fight over Obamacare that shut down much of the U.S. government, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is picking another fight — this time over President Obama’s choice of Tom Wheeler to head the Federal Communications Commission.

Cruz’s office on Thursday said that the Republican senator has put a temporary hold on any Senate vote on Wheeler’s nomination.

Cruz’s office told TheWrap that the senator has continuing concern about whether Wheeler would try to use the FCC to put into effect campaign ad disclosures that Congress has not enacted. Some supporters of the Disclose Act, legislation that would require greater disclosure for the backers of political ads, have urged the FCC to implement some of the legislation’s features on its own, even if Congress fails to act.

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During a Senate Commerce Committee confirmation hearing June 18, Cruz said doing so would be a mistake and called on Wheeler to promise not to take any action. Cruz’s office said Thursday that the senator has not yet been satisfied with the answers he has received from Wheeler.

“The senator is holding the nominee until he gets answers to his questions regarding Mr. Wheeler’s views on whether the FCC has the authority or intent to implement the requirements of the failed Congressional Disclose Act,” an aide to Cruz told TheWrap Thursday.

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The aide indicated the hold may not last long.

“Mr. Wheeler had previously declined to give specific answers, but as he’s now expressed his readiness to revisit the Senator’s questions, the Senator hopes to communicate with him soon,” she said.

Wheeler, a venture capitalist who has headed both the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet  Association, was nominated by President Obama to replace Julius Genachowski as FCC chairman. Since Genachowski’s departure, Mignon Clyburn has been serving as acting FCC Chairwoman.