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In a move that was widely expected, President George W. Bush used a procedural maneuver to install Deborah P. Majoras as chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission Friday, overcoming opposition from some Senate Democrats. In a Personnel Announcement issued by the White House antitrust attorney Majoras was named as the new chair of the FTC in an appointment that is made during the congressional recess. “Recess appointments” allow the president to act without approval by the Senate. Bush will also appoint Jon Leibowitz, a Democrat who would replace Mozelle Thompson on the commission, the White House announced. Liebowitz is a lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America and also served as a staff director for the Senate Judiciary Committee. The appointment will permit Majoras to serve until Congress adjourns in 2005. The president also could resubmit her name to the Senate for confirmation to a full term as head of the agency. Majoras was on track for approval as FTC chief by the Senate Commerce Committee, and could have been confirmed to the post by the full Senate before it adjourned for the summer recess. But Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., employed a rarely used parliamentary procedure to keep the committee from voting, outraging Senate Commerce Chairman John McCain, who accused Wyden of dirty politics. Wyden and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., voiced concerns that Majoras’ work as a partner at Jones Day in Washington, during which she represented oil companies, created a conflict of interest making it inappropriate for her to oversee gasoline-pricing issues at the FTC. “I took this extraordinary step to send a clear message that protecting consumers is of the utmost importance, especially in the face of record high gas and energy prices,” Wyden said. Earlier this month The General Accountability Office (GAO) linked higher gasoline prices to mergers in the oil industry. Majoras, formerly the No. 2 ranking official in the Justice Department’s antitrust division, will replace FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris. Copyright �2004 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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