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White House to Re-Nominate McDowell to FCC

Meanwhile, Meredith Attwell Baker may be next

President Barack Obama intends to renominate Robert McDowell to the Federal Communications Commission for a second term.

The White House made the announcement, which was expected, late Tuesday.

McDowell is the sole Republican commissioner at the moment; he was sworn in to fill the unexpired term of former Chairman Michael Powell in May 2006. Before joining the FCC, McDowell was senior vice president at COMPTEL, which represents competitive facilities-based telecommunications companies.

ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas said McDowell would provide continuity on many important FCC issues, including the upcoming DTV transition. She pledged to work with committee chairman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., “to make sure McDowell receives a fair nomination hearing and is confirmed.”

Several telecom companies and NAB issued statements of support for McDowell.

“We have deep respect for Commissioner McDowell. His good humor and open-minded approach to issues facing the commission have served the public well, and we look forward to working with him during his second term,” said NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton.

The FCC is without a permanent chairman and is short two members. Obama has chosen Julius Genachowski to lead the FCC and South Carolina utility commissioner Mignon Clyburn for the other Democratic seat. They, McDowell and another GOP commissioner, yet to be named, will face Senate confirmation.

The Wall Street Journal this week reported that GOP lawmakers on the Hill have settled on former NTIA acting head Meredith Attwell Baker to fill the remaining Republican. Baker is the daughter-in-law of former Secretary of State James Baker.

We’ve reported lawmakers prefer to have one nomination hearing for all the FCC nominees.