FCC Set to Sail, but Missing a Captain

On Thursday August 3, 2017, the Senate voted to confirm FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr while delaying a vote on Chairman Ajit Pai. Rosenworcel and Carr’s confirmations restore the FCC to its full five-member quorum.

Rosenworcel, a Democrat, was unable to achieve confirmation before expiration of her previous term, and her appointment by President Trump was viewed as “righting a wrong.” She was quickly confirmed by a unanimous voice vote before conclusion of floor proceedings on August 3rd, and is expected to be a proponent for net neutrality and online privacy restrictions.

Carr, a Republican, faced some antagonism from Senate Democrats earlier in the week but was confirmed to a single one-and-a-half year term through June 2018. Carr’s confirmation restores the FCC to its full five-member panel, with a 3-2 Republican majority.

In light of Democratic opposition to Pai’s appointment, Senators chose to wait until after the August recess to consider whether the current Chairman will serve out another 5-year term. Pai, who is ultimately expected to achieve confirmation, has talked extensively about his desire to deregulate the telecom industry and loosen current net neutrality restrictions.

* Chad Blackham contributed to this post.