3-2 Republican majority likely to overturn net neutrality rules.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai congratulated the commissioners in a statement. “As I know from working with each of them for years, they have distinguished records of public service and will be valuable assets to the FCC in the years to come,” Pai said. “Their experience at the FCC makes them particularly well-suited to hit the ground running. I’m pleased that the FCC will once again be at full strength and look forward to collaborating to close the digital divide, promote innovation, protect consumers, and improve the agency’s operations.”
Carr served as Pai’s Wireless, Public Safety and International Legal Advisor for three years. After President Trump elevated Pai to the chairmanship in January, Pai appointed Carr to become the FCC’s general counsel.
“A former lawyer for the nation’s top telecom companies—ties that earned him some criticism from liberal-leaning consumer groups—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,” Recode noted today.
Rosenworcel had to leave the commission at the end of last year when the Republican-led US Senate refused to re-confirm her for a second five-year term. But Democrats pushed Trump to re-nominate Rosenworcel to fill the empty Democratic spot and he obliged. FCC commissioners are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
Nominations of one Republican and one Democrat are often paired, with the parties striking an agreement to get them both confirmed. No party is allowed to have more than a one-vote majority on the commission.
Pai himself can only serve on the FCC until the end of 2017 if the Senate doesn’t confirm him for another term. It’s all but a certainty that the Senate will confirm Pai, but a vote hasn’t been scheduled yet.
Besides Pai, Carr, and Rosenworcel, the five-member commission includes Republican Michael O’Rielly and Democrat Mignon Clyburn.
Clyburn congratulated Rosenworcel and Carr, saying, “I am confident that both Jessica and Brendan will carry on the Commission’s important work when it comes to closing the digital divide, promoting competition, and defending the public interest.”