Citing a pledge by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that has yet to be fulfilled, Democratic leaders in the Senate pushed this week for an expedited floor vote on Jessica Rosenworcel’s nomination to a new, five year term as an FCC commissioner. Nearly a year has passed since President Obama re-nominated Rosenworcel for a full FCC term to expire on June 30, 2020. In 2012, Rosenworcel, a Democrat, assumed the FCC seat once held by former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. Although Rosenworcel’s previous term expired last June, she may continue to serve at the FCC through the end of the current congressional session in December.
Although Rosenworcel’s nomination received a favorable vote at the Senate Commerce Committee last December, an aide to McConnell told reporters there is no plan for a floor vote at this time owing to “a number of objections from Senators.” Meanwhile, in remarks Wednesday on the Senate floor, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pointed to a previous exchange with McConnell, who had agreed to move Rosenworcel’s nomination to a floor vote early in the 114th Congress in exchange for Reid’s commitment to facilitate a floor vote on the nomination of FCC Commissioner Michael O’Reilly at the end of the 113th Congress. (O’Reilly, a Republican, was confirmed by the Senate in December 2014.) Around the time of the Commerce Committee vote, Reid reminded McConnell of his commitment, upon which McConnell pledged to advance Rosenworcel’s nomination at the end of the winter recess in January 2016. As Reid lamented, “here we are . . . [in] April and still no confirmation,” Commerce Committee member Tom Udall (D-NM) called on McConnell and his Senate colleagues “to quickly confirm Jessica Rosenworcel to the FCC.” Similarly, as Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) urged the Senate to bestow upon Rosenworcel the “honor” of being re-confirmed, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler emphasized that “all nominees . . . deserve an up or down vote.”