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Report: Genachowski as Commerce Secretary?

The Hill quotes sources ‘close to the White House’ saying the FCC’s time as chairman may be nearing an end

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is ready to move on and is being considered for a cabinet post in the Obama administration, according to the publication The Hill.

Unnamed high-tech sources and “prominent Democrats close to the White House” point to Genachowski as one on a list of candidates to replace Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, who is in line to become ambassador to China.

The Hill said its sources indicate both Genachowski and the White House would like him in a different job. The administration wants “a more decision-oriented FCC chairman who keeps industry skirmishes at the agency, rather than allowing them to seep over to Pennsylvania Avenue,” according to the account.

Genachowski, a law school classmate of President Obama and tech entrepreneur who became chairman in June 2009, has been focused on rolling out broadband, skirmishing both with television broadcasters over spectrum give-back plans and having to make repeated trips to Congress to explain agency actions.

However, he is seen as having business connections that could be a benefit in the commerce post, according to the report.

Upcoming changes at the commission may work in favor of picking Genachowski for a new post, sources told The Hill. Republican Commissioner Meredith Baker and an as-yet-unannounced successor for Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps will need to make their way through Senate confirmation in the coming months, and a new chairman could be “packaged” as part of the process, according to this theory. Some sources believe Jessica Rosenworcel, top telecom aide to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., could likely replace Copps, and that selection could, in turn, persuade Rockefeller to support Genachowski for Commerce secretary.

The FCC had no comment on the account.