Two weeks after nominating Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel to return to the FCC seat she once held, the Trump Administration confirmed late Wednesday that it will nominate Brendan Carr to fill the last remaining vacancy at the agency. A Republican, Carr was promoted to the rank of FCC General Counsel in January after serving a three-year stint as legal advisor to then-FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai on wireless, public safety, and international issues. If the Senate simultaneously confirms the nominations of both Rosenworcel and Carr, the FCC would return to its full slate of five commissioners and would feature a 3-2 Republican majority for the first time since 2009. Carr would also serve the remaining portion of a five-year term expiring in June 2018 plus an additional five-year term which would expire in June 2023.
Industry executives joined Carr’s future colleagues at the FCC in welcoming the nomination. As he highlighted Carr’s “distinguished record of public service,” Pai told reporters that Carr’s “expertise on wireless policy and public safety will be a tremendous asset to the Commission.” Calling for Carr’s “swift confirmation,” National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith praised Carr’s “firm grasp on telecom and media law” as he asserted that Carr possesses “the right temperament to be a superb Commissioner.” As CTIA President and former FCC Commissioner Meredith Atwell Baker praised Carr as “an accomplished and talented attorney who understands the importance of wireless to consumers and the U.S. economy,” Robert McDowell—another former FCC commissioner and current chief policy advisor to Mobile Future— observed that Carr “has an ideal background and regulatory philosophy to produce policies that will bring positive . . . change to the benefit of all Americans.”
Meanwhile, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn’s current term at the FCC expires today. It still remains unclear whether President Trump will nominate her to serve another five-year term. During an interview set to air this weekend on CSPAN’s The Communicators program, Clyburn—a Democrat—confirmed, “I have not made any plans” to step down from the FCC. In the meantime, Clyburn may retain her FCC seat until she is re-confirmed, a successor is confirmed, or when the current Congressional term concludes in December 2018, whichever comes first.