In one of its final acts before concluding the 113th Congress on Tuesday, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly to a full five-year term at the agency ending in June 2019.
A Republican who once served on the staff of Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and former Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), O’Rielly arrived at the FCC in November 2013 to assume the seat of former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, whose term expired in June of this year. In October, O’Rielly was re-nominated by President Obama to serve a full, five-year term. Because just one year had passed since O’Rielly last went through the confirmation process, industry watchers predicted accurately that O’Rielly’s most recent nomination would be quickly and easily approved by the Senate.
News of the Senate’s action was welcomed at the FCC, where Commissioner Ajit Pai lauded his Republican colleague as “a hardworking, principled advocate for free markets, the rule of law and the consumer interest.” As National Cable & Telecommunications Association CEO Michael Powell described O’Rielly as “a passionate advocate for forward-looking policies,” Meredith Atwell Baker, the CEO of wireless association CTIA, remarked that O’Rielly “understands the challenges that the wireless industry faces, and we appreciate his commitment to helping address those challenges.” As he declared that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and his other FCC colleagues “have been enormously supportive,” O’Rielly thanked Senate lawmakers for confirming him and promised “to do my best to fulfill the trust they have placed in me.”