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The Senate Commerce Committee voted Wednesday to confirm Deborah Majoras and Jon Leibowitz as members of the Federal Trade Commission. The vote was the first step toward extending the tenure of the two beyond 2005. President Bush used recess appointments in August to install Majoras as chairman and Leibowitz as a commissioner at the agency after Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., used procedural moves to block a vote on Majoras. Unless the full Senate confirms them, Majoras and Leibowitz would have to leave the agency when Congress adjourns in 2005. It was unclear Wednesday whether the Senate would take up the nominations before the November elections. Wyden issued a statement late Wednesday saying he intended to block full Senate consideration of Majoras’ nomination. “There is still no evidence that she would do anything as FTC commissioner to actively protect American consumers from unreasonably high gasoline prices,” Wyden said. “I cannot support another FTC chair who will continue to do business as usual when it comes to taking on oil companies and the record high gas prices that have been hurting American families.” Speculation surfaced Wednesday that the White House could package the nominations with that of Jonathan Adelstein, a Democrat on the Federal Communications Commission whose term already has expired. Sources said such a move might put more pressure on Wyden to drop his hold. Wyden voted against confirming Majoras in committee. A Wyden spokesman was not immediately available for comment. Majoras was the No. 2 antitrust official at the Department of Justice until January, when she returned to law firm Jones Day as a partner. Leibowitz was a top Democratic aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee before becoming a lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America. Copyright �2004 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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