Washington - Oct 29, 2013 - In spring 2013, after then-FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced he would step down in June, President Obama nominated Thomas Wheeler to take the chairman's seat. The confirmation was on hold because Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) had blocked the nomination vote. Cruz wanted to hear Wheelers views about the FCC attempting to adopt new political TV ad disclosure rules. Cruz released a statement saying, "[Wheeler] explicitly stated that doing so was 'not a priority.' Based on those representations, I [Cruz] have lifted my hold on his nomination, and I look forward to working with him on the FCC to expand jobs and economic growth."
Once the hold was removed, the Senate unanimously confirmed Wheeler's nomination.
Thomas Wheeler, a venture capitalist, is currently the managing director at Core Capital Partners in Washington, DC. He has also been a lobbyist for the wireless and cable industries. From 1979 to 1984, he served as president of the National Cable Television Association and before that he was CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association.
Also confirmed as commissioner was Mike O'Rielly, who had been an advisor to Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX). O'Rielly takes the seat vacate by Commissioner Robert McDowell who left in May.
Between the time Genachowski left and Wheeler comes in, Mignon Clyburn has been acting chairwoman of the agency. With these two confirmations, the FCC again has its full five seats filled.