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Senate Commerce to Vote on Wheeler FCC Nomination

Lawmakers intend to take up nine nominations and 13 bills on Tuesday

The Senate Commerce Committee plans to vote tomorrow on Tom Wheeler’s nomination as the next head of the FCC.

Wheeler is managing director of Washington-based investment firm Core Capital. He was chief of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association from 1979 to 1984, and head of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association from 1992 to 2003.

The Tuesday Wheeler vote is one of several slated as lawmakers consider 13 bills and 8 other nominations. Bills up for committee consideration range from legislation on violent content research, a measure to eliminate pirate fishing and the reauthorization for NASA. Lawmakers are considering nominations for Coast Guard promotions, five board members for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and a Commerce Department nominee.

While the committee vote is expected to go in Wheeler’s favor, the full Senate isn’t expected to take up his nomination until the GOP settles on a nominee to fill former Commissioner Robert McDowell’s seat at the FCC. Insiders have speculated the GOP has settled on Mike O’Reilly, a staffer for Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, as their nominee of choice.

The committee would still need to vet O’Reilly and schedule a nomination hearing. Since Congress leaves for its August recess this week, that means further action on the FCC nominations will need to wait until fall, leaving Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn in place a little longer.