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Stevens Controls Telecom Agenda

As expected, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has eliminated the Telecommunications Subcommittee, which his predecessor as Commerce Committee chairman, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), had wanted to run. That's according to new committee assignments announced Tuesday by Stevens and ranking minority member Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).

Stevens will keep media and telecom oversight under his control as the committee prepares what could be a massive rewrite of telecommunications law.

Stevens had been the longest sitting Republican on the Telecommunications Subcommittee, had participated in the 1996 Telecommunications Act rewrite, and couldn't chair both the Commerce Committee and the subcommittee.

An aid pointed out that of the 37 telecom-related hearings in the last Congress, the vast majority had been held in the full committee anyway.