The Senate confirmation hearing of Julius Genachowski as FCC chairman on Tuesday was about as contentious as two Buddhist monks talking at a peace rally. Genachowski handily won confirmation by the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, while reaping the benefit of compliments like “if you aren’t qualified, then I don’t know who is” (Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb.), and “[you have the] perfect background” (Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.).
Committee members did warn Genachowski that they expect big changes, and told him that former Chairman Kevin Martin’s approach to things was the opposite of what they want now.
“I want an FCC that is transparent, that inspires confidence and that makes our digital infrastructure a model for the world,” said Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.). “Tragically, this has not been the case for some time. So, Mr. Genachowski … let me be very clear about the challenge before you. Fix this agency or we will fix it for you.”
He also urged Genachowski to “put the consumer first.”
The ease of confirmation for Obama’s pick might have had something to do with the fact that only two Republicans out of 11 on the Committee showed up: Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Tex) and Nebraska’s Johanns, neither of which expressed concern at the nomination.
Genachowski is expected to win full Senate confirmation before the July 4 recess.