Senate confirms Republican FCC commissioner

The Senate unanimously approved Republican Michael O'Rielly to a five-year term on the Federal Communications Commission, among a host of other nominees. 

The nominations Tuesday night were among the last pieces of business conducted by the Senate before it wrapped up the 113th Congress.

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O'Rielly, who was finishing out the term of former commissioner Robert McDowell, was nominated for a full term in October. The Senate previously approved him by unanimous consent.

"A major benefit of confirmation: continuing work with my good colleagues," O'Rielly said on Twitter.

The FCC is made up of three Democrats and two Republicans. 

The Commerce Committee had not taken up his re-nomination until Tuesday, when it discharged his name by unanimous consent ahead of the floor vote. 

The GOP commissioner came to the FCC after spending years as a GOP staffer on Capitol Hill. He worked as a senior staffer for Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and a number of other Republican offices before joining the FCC.

A number of telecommunications and wireless organizations applauded his confirmation.

"Commissioner O’Rielly has been a passionate advocate for forward-looking policies that promote competitive, marketplace solutions," said Michael Powell, the chief executive of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. 

"He understands the challenges that the wireless industry faces, and we appreciate his commitment to helping address those challenges in ways that encourage continued investment, innovation and American leadership," said Meredith Attwell Baker, the chief executive of CTIA — The Wireless Association.