Senate Confirms FCC Chair Rosenworcel To Another Term, Narrowly Avoiding a Republican Majority

The Senate voted 68-31 to confirm Federal Communications Commission Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, the first woman to hold that title, to another five-year term, narrowly avoiding a Republican majority at the agency once her current term was set to expire at the end of the year. From a report: Rosenworcel gained the support of key Republicans, including Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker, R-Miss. President Joe Biden waited a historically long period to nominate Rosenworcel as well as former FCC official Gigi Sohn to a commissioner role. That prolonged period threatened to temporarily give the two Republicans on the commission a majority, since Rosenworcel would have had to leave the commission at the New Year if she was not confirmed to another term by then. While the role of acting chair, which sets the agenda for the agency, would go to the remaining Democrat on the commission until a permanent chair could be confirmed, the agency would likely not have been able to push forward anything but the most bipartisan of measures. Even with Rosenworcel's confirmation, the commission is set to remain stalemated on more controversial issues until a fifth commissioner is confirmed. Biden has signaled a desire to return to the net neutrality rules adopted by the FCC during the Obama administration, which were later repealed by the agency under former President Donald Trump. Republicans on the commission have continued to signal opposition to reclassifying broadband providers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which the industry has argued would unfairly open the possibility of price regulation of their services. Companies subject to the reclassification included internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, parent company of CNBC owner NBCUniversal.

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