At FCC, GOP commissioner’s departure clears way for Genachowski’s exit


FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell announced he’s stepping down. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

McDowell, one of two Republicans on the five-member commission, said he’s leaving the job “in a few weeks.”

And observers say that move makes it easier for FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to soon follow him to the doors — since now he’ll leave Democrats with a 2-1 voting advantage (whereas if he’d left before McDowell, the FCC would be in a 2-2 deadlock).

McDowell said he didn’t have a post-FCC job lined up yet. And it’s unclear who President Obama might name as his successor, though whoever the GOP pick is, that nominee could wind up paired with the Democratic nominee to replace Genachowski, following in the tradition of grouping one Democratic candidate with a GOP one for a smoother Senate confirmation.

Though Genachowski Wednesday said he had “no news” regarding if and when he’d leave the FCC, the White House has been interviewing potential replacements.

Sounds like they might want to stay close to the phone.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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