FCC Confirmations Restore GOP Majority

The Senate has confirmed two nominations to the Federal Communications Commission, ending the Democrats brief 2-1 majority at the agency.

By voice vote, the Senate approved late Wednesday the nomination of Republican Deborah Tate, an attorney and state regulator from Tennessee, to fill one empty seat at the five-member commission. Lawmakers also approved the nomination of Democrat Michael Copps to serve a second term at the commission.

Tate's confirmation means Republican Chairman Kevin Martin will no longer be outnumbered by the two Democrats on the panel — Copps and Jonathan Adelstein. Martin found himself in the minority when fellow Republican Kathleen Abernathy left the commission on Dec 9.

Even with Tate on board, the commission still has one empty seat and remains split between two Republicans and two Democrats.

The White House has yet to nominate anyone to fill Abernathy's seat.

Tate will fill the remainder of the term of former Chairman Michael Powell, who left the agency in March. Her term expires in June 2007.

Tate is a director on the Tennessee Regulatory Authority and previously served as chairman of the authority from 2003-04.

Copps, a strong advocate of tougher indecency enforcement and critic of increasing media consolidation, was first nominated by President Bush in May 2001. He has also served as assistant secretary of commerce for trade development. Before that, he spent 15 years working for Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C.

Copps' term expires in June of 2010.