Five months after winning Senate confirmation to a partial FCC term, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr was re-nominated by President Trump on Monday to serve a full, five-year term at the agency that would run through June 30, 2023. Last August, Carr—a Republican who had served previously as FCC General Counsel and as a legal advisor to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in Pai’s former capacity as an FCC commissioner—was confirmed by the Senate to serve out the remainder of former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s term through June 2018. At the same time, the Senate also approved the return of Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel to the FCC seat she had been forced to relinquish in January 2017, for a term ending in June 2020.
Pointing to uncertainty surrounding the future FCC service of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn—a Democrat whose term expired last June —and citing the Senate’s customary practice of considering federal agency nominees in bipartisan pairs, Senate Democrats succeeded in convincing their colleagues to vote only on Carr’s partial term and to consider an additional five-year term for Carr if he is re-nominated alongside Clyburn or another Democratic candidate for her seat. Although Carr’s latest nomination is now in the hands of the Senate, the Trump Administration still has yet to nominate Clyburn or name a Democratic replacement. Clyburn, meanwhile, has dismissed speculation that she intends to leave the FCC and is permitted under the law to continue her FCC service through the end of the current Congressional term (i.e., through December 2018) or until a replacement is nominated and confirmed, whichever comes first.