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Dec 16

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12/16/2008 5:58 AM  RssIcon

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is a step closer to wielding the gavel of the powerful Senate Commerce Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., issued his recommendations for committee chairs Monday. The posts will become official after the 111th Congress makes it so early next year.

Rockefeller will replace Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, who is replacing Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W Va., at the helm of the Appropriations Committee.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., will replace Rockefeller as chair of the Intelligence Committee.

The top Republican on Commerce is expected to be Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, who has previously allied with Democrats on issues including their fight against expended media consolidation.

Rockefeller has been involved with the DTV transition, most recently with the sponsorship of the 30-day “nightlight” bill allowing stations to continue some full-power analog broadcasting after the Feb. 17, 2009, transition date.

That bill has passed the House and Senate and awaits President Bush’s expected signature.

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