- November 17, 2005, Republican FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy announced that she was leaving the agency on December 9th. Her departure puts pressure on Senate Commerce Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, to speedily confirm Republican Deborah Tate, nominated by President Bush last week to fill an existing vacancy at the agency. The five-member FCC is currently split 2-to-2 among Republicans and Democrats, making it difficult for Chairman Kevin Martin to proceed with his deregulatory agenda. If Deborah Tate is not confirmed before Commissioner Abernathy leaves, Chairman Martin could be in the awkward position of being outnumbered by Democrats. Senator Stevens recently said the confirmation hearing would take place in December.