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Senate Commerce Could Approve Genachowski, McDowell Thursday

The nominations of Julius Genachowski and Robert McDowell to the FCC could be approved by the Senate Commerce Committee as soon as Thursday afternoon in what is called an off-the-floor markup.

That is according to sources, who said the Commerce Committee leadership was planning to use that fast-track method to speed the process. Otherwise, a committee vote could not come until at least next Thursday, and then only if it were noticed by the end of this Thursday. per Senate rules of one-week notice on hearings. Congress is going out on its July 4 holiday June 29.

An off-the-floor markup is essentially buttonholing all the members of the committee and getting them to approve the nominations. That will still depend on whether all are satisfied with the written answers to questions the nominees were to have supplied by Wednesday night.

A single Senator with issues could foil that fast-track vote. But if they are approved, that would pave the way for trying to get full Senate approval before the July 4 break.

A spokesperson for Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WVA) had not returned a call at press time, but committee Democrats suggested during the Genachowski/McDowell confirmation hearing Tuesday that they wanted to move swiftly, and both nominees were roundly praised from both sides of the aisle.

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.