Wow, who'd a thunk? This is what I've been hoping for: "exceeding expectations."
Jun 14, 2017 12:09 AM ET
Trump Nominating Rosenworcel for Return FCC Engagement
Senate confirmation would mean return engagement for well-regarded Dem
By John Eggerton
In what appears to be an unprecedented move, former Democratic FCC Commissioner
Jessica Rosenworcel will also be future Democratic FCC commissioner if the
Senate confirms her as expected.
Shortly before midnight Tuesday, June 13, President Donald Trump signaled his
intention to nominate Rosenworcel to a five-year term and a return engagement
as a Democratic FCC commissioner.
The office of press secretary Sean Spicer announced the news in an email
advisory, a move that the inside-the-Beltway FCC watchers have been expecting
for several weeks.
Rosenworcel, who had served on the commission between 2012 and the end of 2016,
was forced to exit at the end of last year after Congress failed to bring her
renomination to a vote despite unanimous approval by the Senate Commerce
Committee and support from both Democratic and Republican legislative leaders
after Senate Republican leadership would not schedule a vote.
President Trump withdrew Obama's renomination of Rosenworcel, which if she had
been seated would have left the FCC at a 2-2 political divide once FCC Chairman
Tom Wheeler exited.
Currently the FCC is down to only three members, two Republicans and a
Democrat. The FCC can still render decisions on issues the lone Democrat
disagrees with, and has on numerous occasions, most notably the decision to
roll back Title II. But if Democrat Mignon Clyburn exits-her term is up at the
end of June but she could serve until the end of 2018, the FCC will lack a
quorum to vote on items.
Rosenworcel would likely need to be paired with a nominee for the Republican
seat-the Administration would not want to create a 2-2 tie, which would be the
case unless Mignon Clyburn exited. In that event, the Clyburn seat could be
paired with the new Republican and Rosenworcel paired with Pai, whose term also
ends in June. One name being floated for the third Republican seat is Brendan
Carr, currently the acting FCC General Counsel and formerly a staffer in the
office of current chairman Ajit Pai.
Rosenworcel's renomination got caught up in an unrelated political fight
between the Republicans and Democrats over nominations in general.
Former Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had taken to the Senate floor
in April 2016 to call for a vote on Rosenworcel's renomination, in the process
saying majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had broken his word to act on
Rosenworcel after the Democrats agreed last year to vote out Republican
commissioner Michael O'Rielly. Usually commissioners are paired, Democrat and
Republican, before being voted, but Reid said he agreed to vote O'Rielly by
himself after getting McConnell's promise that Rosenworcel would also get a
vote. She did not.
"Jessica Rosenworcel has served with distinction at the FCC and, before that,
on Capitol Hill," said veteran public interest attorney Andrew Schwartzman.
"This appointment rights a wrong, because she deserved confirmation last year,
and should have been sitting on the Commission all along. I look forward to her
zealous advocacy for universal broadband deployment, especially for younger
"NAB is delighted to hear that President Trump will renominate Jessica
Rosenworcel to the FCC," said National Association of Broadcasters President
Gordon Smith. "Commissioner Rosenworcel is supremely qualified for another FCC
term, having demonstrated her public service credentials and full command of
telecommunications issues during her Commission tenure. NAB strongly supports
her renomination and confirmation."
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