August 4, 2017
The Senate voted yesterday to confirm Democratic nominee Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican nominee Brendan Carr as new FCC commissioners. The confirmations return the agency to its full strength of five commissioners, following a seven-month gap. The new commissioners will take office as FCC chair Ajit Pai prepares to roll back the net neutrality rules that were passed by the Democratic majority in 2015. The Senate opted to postpone Pai’s reconfirmation; Rosenworcel and Carr were confirmed via voice vote yesterday, and there will be a recorded vote for Pai later this fall.
“That gives Democrats a platform to vote against Pai publicly, against the background of the FCC deciding what to do about its proposal to undo Obama-era net neutrality rules,” reports POLITICO.
“We are back to a bipartisan tradition of pairing nominees, and that will enable the committee to be more productive legislatively,” said Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).
The Senate’s unanimous vote to confirm Rosenworcel “sends her back to an agency where she served under former President Barack Obama,” notes Recode. “Rosenworcel only left the FCC at the end of last year because lawmakers ran out of time to grant her another term.” Republicans from the previous Congress held up her confirmation as a tactic to encourage then-FCC chair Tom Wheeler to step aside.
Carr had previously served as the FCC’s general counsel and his “easy confirmation is something of a promotion at the agency,” suggests Recode. “Carr is expected to become a reliable ally to Pai as he proceeds with his plans to undo the government’s net neutrality rules and loosen regulation on the telecom industry.”