FCC Make-Up in Question

With likely one week until Congress wraps up the business of its lame-duck session, the nomination of FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel (D) for a new term remains unapproved by the Senate. Her confirmation has long been thought likely to be tied to a Republican nomination or some other priority moving at the same time. However, the recent election has changed the state of play significantly. The incoming Trump Administration has the right to name a new FCC chairman. While current Chairman Tom Wheeler does not necessarily need to resign from the agency, if he remains and Rosenworcel is re-appointed, the new Republican chairman could face a 3-2 Democrat majority until a commissioner resigns or leaves at the end of his or her term. Thus far, Wheeler has not detailed his plans despite inquiries for months by Senate Republicans. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) told Morning Consult this week that Wheeler’s stance was “a complicating factor.” However, he added, “My hope is that that issue will get resolved before the end of the year.”

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: December 2, 2016

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