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Senate Confirms Tom Wheeler as FCC Chairman After Ted Cruz Drops Objection

Texas Senator Ted Cruz dropped his hold on a Senate vote, and Wheeler was then immediately confirmed as the next Federal Communications Commission chairman

Tom Wheeler was confirmed on Tuesday as the next Federal Communications Commission chairman after Texas Senator Ted Cruz dropped his hold on the Senate vote.

Cruz, who had delayed a vote on Oct. 17 because of concerns that Wheeler would FCC regulations in place that could require greater disclosure about campaign ads than Congress has approved–regulations proposed as part of the Disclose Act.

Cruz said Tuesday he lifted his Senate hold on the nomination after a meeting in which Wheeler promised not to move forward with the regulations.

Also read: Obama Formally Taps Tom Wheeler as FCC Chairman

“In our meeting this afternoon, Mr. Wheeler stated that he had heard the unambiguous message that trying to impose the requirements of the Disclose Act, absent congressional action, would imperil the Commission’s vital statutory responsibilities, and he explicitly stated that doing so was `not a priority,'” Cruz said Tuesday.

“Based on those representations, I have lifted my hold on his nomination, and I look forward to working with him on the FCC to expand jobs and economic growth.”

Also read: ABC News Asks Ted Cruz: ‘How Much Do Your Colleagues Just Despise You?’ (Video)

Some public interest groups had been urging the FCC to implement major elements of the Disclose Act on its own and require political advertisers to disclose more information on the companies or individuals financing campaign ads.

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.

The Senate on Tuesday also confirmed  Michael O’Reilly, bringing the commission back up to its full five member level.

Also read: Sen. Ted Cruz Halts Vote on FCC Chairmanship

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-WV, issued a statement complimenting both men.

“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,” Rockefeller said. “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.”