- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 9, 2005


President Bush intends to nominate a Republican regulator from Tennessee and to renominate Democrat Michael Copps to serve on the Federal Communications Commission, moves that would briefly give the GOP a majority on the five-member commission.

The White House announced late yesterday the president’s intention to have Deborah Tate fill a vacant Republican seat on the panel. Mr. Copps, whose term expired June 30, will be renominated for a five-year term.

Both must be confirmed by the Senate.

Mrs. Tate is a director on the Tennessee Regulatory Authority and previously served as chairman of the authority from 2003 to 2004. In 2003, she was appointed to the FCC’s Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Telecommunications Services.

Mr. Copps, a strong advocate of tougher ndecency enforcement, was first nominated by Mr. Bush in May 2001.

Mrs. Tate would fill the vacancy created by the elevation in March of Commissioner Kevin Martin, a Republican, to FCC chairman.

If the Senate moves quickly on the nominations, then Mrs. Tate would give Mr. Martin a Republican majority — something he hasn’t had since taking over as chairman. The panel is currently split between two Republicans and two Democrats.

But any majority could be short-lived. Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy, whose term expired last year, must leave the agency when the Senate’s current session expires later this year — putting another Republican seat up for grabs.

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