The Senate today confirmed dozens of President Trump’s nominees for various executive branch and independent agency positions, including the nominations of FCC General Counsel Brendan Carr to fill the remainder of former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s term on the Commission, which expires June 30, 2018, and of former Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to the five-year term expiring June 30, 2020.
President Obama had nominated Commissioner Rosenworcel to the additional term, but the Senate never voted on the nomination.
The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved President Trump’s nominations of Mr. Carr and Ms. Rosenworcel yesterday. Over the objections of Democrats, the committee also approved on a party-line vote the president’s nomination of Mr. Carr to a second, full five-year term, beginning July 1, 2018. Democrats argued that confirmation of the nomination of Mr. Carr to a second term should wait to be paired with the nomination of a Democrat to fill the seat currently occupied by Mignon L. Clyburn (TR Daily, Aug. 2)
Commissioner Clyburn’s term expired June 30 of this year, and the president has not renominated her or nominated a successor. Under statute, if she is not renominated and confirmed, she may continue to serve until a successor is confirmed or until the 2018 congressional session concludes, whichever comes first.
The committee also yesterday approved the nomination of Chairman Pai to another term ending June 30, 2021. As of TR Daily’s news deadline, the Senate had not acted on that nomination.
Committee Chairman John Thune (R., S.D.) and ranking minority member Bill Nelson (D., Fla.) indicated at yesterday’s executive session that a decision on how to package or pair nominations, and potentially to move forward with telecom bills previously approved by the committee (see separate story), was being negotiated by the Senate majority and minority leadership (TR Daily, Aug. 2).
Today, regarding Ms. Rosenworcel, Sen. Nelson (D., Fla.) said, “It’s about time that this qualified and dedicated public servant was reconfirmed.”
FCC Chairman Pai, whose term expired June 30, 2016, and who would have to leave the agency if the Senate doesn’t confirm him by the end of this congressional session, issued a statement congratulating Ms. Rosenworcel and Mr. Carr, who was an adviser in his office for several years before becoming the agency’s general counsel this year.
“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. 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,” Chairman Pai said.
Commissioner Clyburn said, “I congratulate Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr on being confirmed by the Senate to serve as Commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission. 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.”
Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, whose term runs until June 30, 2019, said, “I appreciate the U.S. Senate approving the nominations of Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr, both of whom I know well, for seats at the Commission. I look forward to my ‘new’ colleagues being sworn in and the opportunity to work with them in the months ahead on important communications issues for the benefit of the American people.”
In a statement, NCTA said, “We applaud the Senate for confirming FCC nominees Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr. Both Jessica and Brendan are outstanding public servants who will serve our nation well. Now that the FCC is complete with all five members, we look forward to working with the entire commission on important communications and technology issues to benefit American consumers.”
Competitive Carriers Association President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Berry said, “I applaud the Senate for confirming Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr as FCC Commissioners, and congratulate them on their confirmations. Both Commissioners possess extensive knowledge of the communications industry and understand the importance of ensuring all Americans, including those in rural areas, have access to advanced mobile broadband services. The Commission is now at full strength with extraordinary talent from the telecom industry.”
Mr. Berry added, “With an ambitious and comprehensive agenda, including many competitive policy issues still on the table, I have no doubt the Commission will tackle each issue with celerity. I thank the Senate for confirming the nominations and look forward to our continued work on behalf of competitive carriers with all five Commissioners and their respective staffs.”
Wireless Infrastructure Association President and CEO Jonathan Adelstein said, “We congratulate nominees Rosenworcel and Carr on winning confirmation from the Senate to serve on the FCC. Both are dedicated public servants with established records of working with all stakeholders to best serve all communities. WIA looks forward to working with the FCC on the crucial issues facing the wireless infrastructure industry.”
NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield said, “Commissioners Carr and Rosenworcel have the experience to hit the ground running, and a full complement of Commissioners will be helpful in tackling the many important and complex communications-related public policy issues before the FCC. We look forward in particular to working with the new Commissioners on universal service issues, where their deep industry backgrounds and fresh perspectives may offer help in overcoming persistent problems that continue to keep our nation from fulfilling the statutory mandate that rural Americans must have access to voice and broadband services on a reasonably comparable basis with their urban counterparts.”
Catherine Bohigian, executive vice president–government affairs at Charter Communications, said, “We at Charter congratulate Commissioners Rosenworcel and Carr on their confirmation by the U.S. Senate to serve on the Federal Communications Commission. We look forward to their leadership and appreciate the opportunity to work with them on issues of importance to all Americans like incentivizing and accelerating the deployment of high-speed broadband to more Americans and establishing policies that will spur the development of the next generation of wireless services.”
Mark Nielsen, EVP and chief legal officer at Frontier Communications, said, “We look forward to working with a full Commission to develop transformative communications policy that will serve today’s digital age and unleash the promise of our connected future. Key initiatives such as connecting our rural communities, closing the digital divide for all Americans, and removing barriers that hamstring infrastructure investment will be instrumental in achieving this vision. The breadth of knowledge, intelligence and expertise that Ms. Rosenworcel and Mr. Carr add to FCC leadership will serve the agency and the American people well. We congratulate Commissioners Rosenworcel and Carr.”
Cinnamon Rogers, senior VP–government affairs at the Telecommunications Industry Association, said, “Having a full complement of Commissioners is particularly important as the Commission considers major policies that will transform how we stay connected and remain competitive. From making more spectrum available to meet the growing demand for mobile broadband, to the advancement of 5G networks, improved public safety communications platforms and IoT applications, these issues and others will have a significant effect on the economy, empowering consumers and businesses alike.” Ms. Rogers continued, “Adding two Commissioners with deep experience in communications policy will help the Commission seamlessly continue and accelerate its work. We look forward to working with Commissioners Carr and Rosenworcel in the months and years ahead.”
Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, said, “”It is a pleasure to see Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel return to the FCC to continue her work promoting innovation and American leadership in the digital economy and to welcome Commissioner Brendan Carr. We look forward to working with each of them to tackle some of the most pressing and pertinent issues facing our industry, including freeing up additional spectrum for licensed and unlicensed use.” Mr. Shapiro added, “We also urge the full Senate to take swift action on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the Senate Commerce Committee to approve the nomination of David Redl to lead the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).”
The committee had originally placed Mr. Redl’s nomination on the agenda for yesterday’s executive business meeting, but deferred action to allow pending questions from committee members to be answered (TR Daily, Aug. 3).
Joan Marsh, AT&T, Inc.’s SVP-federal regulatory, said, “I want to congratulate Brendan Carr and Jessica Rosenworcel on their Senate confirmations to the FCC, which complete a deep bench of talent and expertise at the agency. Both are dedicated and respected public officials. Consumers and our industry will be greatly served by their vast experience and commitment to ever strengthening our nation’s communications infrastructure. We look forward to working with them and the full Commission as it moves forward to address the important issues facing the country.”
CenturyLink, Inc., VP–federal government affairs David Bartlett said that Mr. Carr and Ms. Rosenworcel are “dedicated public servants who understand the challenges and opportunities we face in serving consumers and businesses in a rapidly evolving and converging digital economy.”
Comcast Corp. SEVP and Chief Diversity Officer David Cohen said, “We congratulate Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr on their confirmations to the Federal Communications Commission today. Both Commissioners will make valuable contributions to the FCC agenda. With Chairman Pai’s leadership and a full slate of FCC Commissioners, we look forward to continuing to work on regulatory actions that spur innovation and are pro-consumer and pro-investment.”
Will Johnson, Verizon Communications, Inc.’s SVP–federal regulatory and legal affairs, offered congratulations to Mr. Carr and Ms. Rosenworcel and urged the Senate “to move swiftly to confirm Chairman Ajit Pai on his re-nomination. Given the many important issues before the Commission — whether encouraging rural broadband deployment, enhancing public safety, or paving the way for the next-generation of wireless services — the American people need a full Commission at work for them. We believe this Commission, under Chairman Pai’s leadership, will continue to do great things to promote a vibrant communications industry that improves the lives of all Americans.”
Other organizations issuing congratulatory statements included the American Cable Association, America’s Public Television Stations, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, CTIA, Incompas, the National Association of Broadcasters, Sprint Corp., T-Mobile US, and the U.S. Telecom Association. —Lynn Stanton, firstname.lastname@example.org