WASHINGTON — Senate Commerce Committee chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) has agreed to block the White House’s choice for FCC commissioner if the nominee does not meet the approval of Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.), the ranking Democrat on the committee.
McCain’s commitment to Hollings spells trouble for the current front-runner for the nomination, Kathleen Wall-man. Wallman currently works at the White House where she is the chief of staff for the National Economic Counsel and deputy assistant to the president for economic policy.
But Hollings wants his own former aide Ralph Everett appointed to the FCC chairmanship. Hollings is also the committee’s former chairman. However, it is not clear if Hollings will actually ask McCain to block the White House’s final choice for FCC chairman. An aide to Hollings called McCain’s commitment “a significant devel-opment” but refused to comment any further.
It is not unusual for a committee chairman to pay deference to the views of the senior senator from the opposing party.