The Obama Administration has announced three nominations that should have a significant impact on the future composition of the FCC. On March 3, 2009, the President formally announced his intent to nominate Julius Genachowski as Chairman of the Commission. As the release announcing the nomination noted, Mr. Genachowski has significant communications experience—"He will bring to the job diverse and unparalleled experience in communications and technology, with two decades of accomplishment in the private sector and public service." Mr. Genachowski is a former FCC staffer and has previous experience working on Capitol Hill. The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, the committee responsible for reviewing FCC nominations, has yet to schedule a hearing on this nomination.
Just two weeks later, on March 20, 2009, the President also announced his intent to nominate Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein to head the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The RUS is responsible for grants, loans and loan guarantees to assist companies in delivering utilities services to rural areas throughout the nation. As part of these efforts, RUS oversees a program that provides government support for broadband deployment in rural areas. This program received funding of $2.5 billion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year. No hearing on the nomination has been announced.
Finally, on April 29, 2009, the President announced his intent to nominate Mignon Clyburn as a Commissioner to the FCC. Ms. Clyburn is currently a member of South Carolina's Public Service Commission and previously ran a newspaper in the Charleston area.
Assuming that Commissioner Adelstein and Ms. Clyburn are confirmed, the Obama Administration will have one open spot at the Commission left to fill (a nominee to replace Commissioner Deborah Tate, whose term expired in January). The Administration will also face a decision regarding whether to renominate Commissioner Robert McDowell for another term. His present term expires in June of this year. The term of the other Commissioner, Acting Chairman Michael Copps, does not expire until June of 2010.