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Industry Players Welcome Senate Commerce Approval of Wheeler Nomination

Industry players were quick to weigh in after the Senate Commerce Committee voted to favorably report out the nomination of Tom Wheeler for FCC chairman, which included a salute from former FCC chairman, Michael Powell, who now runs the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA.) (Wheeler previously headed NCTA).

"We commend the Senate Commerce Committee for advancing the nomination of Tom Wheeler to serve as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission," said Powell in a statement. "Mr. Wheeler’s significant private sector experience and his deep understanding of economic issues that drive investment and innovation will serve him well in promoting a forward-looking agenda that encourages continued innovation and growth. We look forward to Mr. Wheeler’s confirmation by the full Senate and to working with him and other members of the Commission on the important policy issues facing our nation.”

It was not clear how long a full-Senate confirmation will take. 

Republicans wanted to hold off on a committee vote until a Republican nominee was submitted by the White House, and a couple of Senators indicated they wanted some more answers from Wheeler - on political ad disclosures and indecency enforcement - before that Senate vote.

But despite the Republican contention, Wheeler's approval has garnered praise from industry heavyweights.

"We strongly support his nomination and look forward to working with him as chairman," said National Association of Broadcasters spokesman Dennis Wharton.

"We commend the Senate Commerce Committee for voting to approve Tom Wheeler to become Chairman of the FCC," said AT&T senior VP Jim Cicconi. "Mr. Wheeler is one of the most qualified individuals ever nominated for this position, and we look forward to him assuming leadership of the agency after his confirmation by the Senate."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), chairman of the committee, said much the same thing in arguing for the, ultimately successful, vote.

USTelecom was also pleased at the nomination's progress - Wheeler is also a former telecom exec.

"We welcome the committee’s vote approving the nomination of Tom Wheeler to head the Federal Communications Commission. With his exceptional telecom policy experience and distinguished record of public service, Mr. Wheeler is an outstanding candidate for this position, and we hope the full Senate will confirm his nomination."

"Tom is a fair minded and accomplished executive who will achieve great success at the FCC," said Preston Padden, executive director of the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition, a group of broadcasters who may be interested in selling spectrum in the FCC incentive auction Wheeler would likely be overseeing as chair.