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Clyburn, Baker Scheduled For Senate Vote

The fulll Senate could approve the nominations of Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Attwell Baker by close of business  (July 22), which means the FCC could be at full strength--five commissioners--in a matter of days.

It is not a done deal, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a vote on the pair, according to a copy of the Senate calendar for July 23.

In fact, they are the last on a long list of nominees expected to be approved quickly and by unanimous consent, which does not require a vote. The pair were approved by unanimous consent in the Senate Commerce Committee July 21.

Baker and Clyburn's calendar numbers on the list are 296 and 297, respectively. If past is prologue, their numbers may simply be read out quickly during wrap-up at the end of the day, which is what happened when new Chairman Julius Genachowski and Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell got their votes several weeks ago.

That process took only seconds and followers would have had to know their calendar number on the day's agenda to know they had been confirmed.

Reid said at the time that it was too bad that he could not give individual recognition to the nominees beyond simply reading their names, since he said they were people who would "change lives."

Baker is the former acting head of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration. Clyburn is a South Carolina utility regulator and daughter of House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC).

Baker is fulfilling the unexpired term of former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, which runs through June 30, 2011. Clyburn gets a full five years, taking the seat vacated by Deborah Taylor Tate, whose term expired in January.

Even a vote Wednesday night wouldn't get them installed in time for a House FCC oversight hearing July 23, at which the chairman and other two commissioners are slated to appear.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.