The FCC returned to full strength last Friday with the swearing-in of two new commissioners: Brendan Carr and Jessica Rosenworcel, who reclaimed the FCC seat she was forced to vacate in January as a consequence of the Senate’s failure to confirm her previous re-nomination before the end of the 114th Congress.
Senate lawmakers approved Rosenworcel and Carr to serve on the five-member FCC panel on August 3. Rosenworcel rejoins her former colleague, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, as a member of the agency’s two-member Democratic minority, for a new term ending in June 2020. A Republican who served recently as FCC General Counsel and previously as a legal advisor to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Carr will serve the remaining portion of former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s term through June 2018. Carr is expected to repeat the Senate confirmation process next year alongside Clyburn (if she is renominated for a new FCC term beyond her previous term which expired in June) or alongside a yet-to-be-named Democratic nominee for Clyburn’s seat. Meanwhile, a Senate vote to confirm Pai’s nomination to serve a full, five-year term as FCC Chairman remains outstanding. Senate lawmakers are expected to vote on Pai’s nomination when Congress returns from its summer recess next month.
Describing herself as “honored and humbled to enjoy the privilege and responsibility of returning to serve as a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission,” Rosenworcel promised she would “fight to make sure that the public interest is served and everyone across this country has access to the best, most reliable communications in the world.” As he expressed his gratitude “to the United States Senate for confirming me,” Carr told reporters: “whether it is promoting broadband deployment, maintaining the United States’ leadership in wireless, or advancing public safety, I look forward to hitting the ground running.” In welcoming Carr and Rosenworcel to the FCC, Pai proclaimed: “I am pleased that the Commission is once again at full capacity . . . and I look forward to collaborating with them to close the digital divide, promote innovation, protect consumers, and improve the agency’s operations.”