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Senate Group Approves Genachowski for FCC Head

Vote now goes to the Senate floor, with the likelihood he will take over next week.

It now appears that Julius Genachowski’s tenure as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission could begin as soon as next week.

The Senate Commerce Committee today, without holding a formal meeting, endorsed Genachowski’s nomination to be FCC chairman on a 24-to-1 vote and sent his nomination to the Senate floor, along with that of Republican Robert McDowell, who has been nominated to a second term on the commission. McDowell was recommended unanimously by the committee.

A Senate vote on the nominations could take place as soon as tomorrow, though a vote early next week is more likely. A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said no vote has yet been scheduled, but whenever the vote takes place, the Senate would likely vote on a number of nominations at once.

Genachowski, a law school classmate and close personal friend of President Obama, is a former FCC legal counsel who went on to work for Barry Diller’s IAC/Interactive and then for his own firms. Before joining the FCC he was an aide to Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.


During the Obama campaign last year, Genachowski drafted the technology portion of the campaign platform.

The only vote against Genachowski’s nomination today came from Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who expressed concern that the FCC could become more proactive in regulating broadcasters.

“Julius Genachowski seems to believe our media markets are fundamentally broken and need more government control,” DeMint said in a statement. 

“He appears ready to continue this administration’s penchant for central planning with mandates on ownership ‘diversity’ and so-called ‘localism.’ This bureaucratic meddling would interfere with the rights of private stations to succeed or fail in a free marketplace that allow Americans to choose, not government."