After waiting more than a year, the Federal Communications Commission finally got its fifth commissioner — and chairman Kevin J. Martin his GOP majority — as the Senate unanimously confirmed nominee Robert McDowell to the last vacant seat on Friday.
The commission has been split 2-2 between Democrats and Republicans since former topper Michael Powell stepped down in March 2005. Martin has been leery of trying to advance key parts of his agenda, such as rewriting media ownership rules, until he could be sure of a majority vote.
“Rob McDowell’s confirmation today is great news for the FCC,” Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said in a statement. “Rob’s expertise and experience will be an asset to the commission as it tackles a variety of critical communications issues in the future. The FCC will be required to implement portions of our communications bill, and it is essential it has a full complement of commissioners.”