McCain supports Powell

Apr 23, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Hoping to ensure that the new Bush administration’s Federal Communications Commission chairman gets a fair opportunity to strut his stuff, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., according to a key source, is recommending that the White House give Michael Powell a new term at the agency.
“It’s an opportunity to give him a full term as chairman,” said Mark Buse, who as staff director of the Senate Commerce Committee is one of Sen. McCain’s top advisers.
According to Mr. Buse, the senator also “expects” the White House to include Mr. Powell’s nomination in a package with three other FCC nominees the president named earlier this month. That package could be forwarded to the Senate for confirmation hearings by early summer.
Without a new five-year term or an extension of his existing one, Mr. Powell would be a virtual lame duck from the start. His current term expires June 30, 2002, and the president named him chairman of the agency on Jan. 22.
While Sen. McCain has been a long-time supporter of Mr. Powell, it’s been far from certain that he would support another go-round for him because the lawmaker has regularly blocked renominations of other commissioners, including one for Democrat Susan Ness, who is still at the agency but on her way out the door. The senator’s standard argument has been that one term is enough for anybody.
In a recent meeting with reporters, Mr. Powell said he hadn’t asked for a new term and wouldn’t seek one.
“If they want me to have one, they know where I live,” Mr. Powell said.
President Bush’s three nominees to the FCC are Republicans Kathleen Abernathy and Kevin Martin and Democrat Michael Copps.