The U.S. Senate today confirmed Tom Wheeler, a former cable and wireless trade association executive, as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission after a Republican lawmaker ended his hold on the nomination.
Wheeler replaces Julius Genachowski, a Democrat, who stepped down as FCC chairman in May. The Senate also confirmed Michael O’Rielly, a Republican, as a member of the commission. He replaces Robert McDowell who also left the agency in May. All vacancies on the five-member commission have been filled.
Senator Ted Cruz on Oct. 17 pledged to stall Wheeler’s nomination. The Texas Republican had asked during a hearing in June whether Wheeler would use the agency to force broader disclosures of who pays for political advertisements. Wheeler didn’t give specific answers to Cruz’s followup questions, Sean Rushton, a spokesman for the senator, said in an Oct. 17 e-mail.
Wheeler, in a meeting today, said that crafting rules to expand disclosure of who pays for political advertisements wasn’t a priority, Cruz said in an e-mailed statement.
“Based on those representations, I have lifted my hold on his nomination,” Cruz said in the statement.
Wheeler, a 67-year-old venture capitalist, was nominated in May by President Barack Obama.
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