The SenateCommerce Committee plans to vote Wednesday on the nomination of Nathan Simington for the Republican FCC seat being vacated by Michael O’Rielly at year’s end, according to a group opposed to his confirmation. If Simington is confirmed by the full Senate, still an open question, the FCC will be at 2-2 when chairman Ajit Pai leaves Jan. 20, putting pressure on the Biden Administration to nominate, vet, and confirm a third Democrat so they have a majority.
At his Senate confirmation hearing to be FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler respectfully declined to answer a question on the FCC’s ability to change retransmission consent rules, although he said he did shared concerns about retrans black-outs. Wheeler also said he was committed to conducting the incentive auction of TV spectrum as quickly as possible, but wasn’t “informed enough” to comment on the sharing agreements that allow Gannett and others to circumvent the FCC’s local ownership rules.
Disclosure of funding of political advertising has become a hot topic in Congress. And Republican Senator Ted Cruz made sure that FCC Chairman nominee Tom Wheeler knew that his fellow GOP members want the FCC to keep its hands off any attempts at imposing disclosure requirements on such ads.”This is the one issue that has in my opinion the potential to derail your nomination,” he said.
FCC Chairman nominee Tom Wheeler says he thinks that “it is possible to call upon our better angels with some leadership” to help clean up programming.
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) says a vote by the full Senate on FCC nominees Ajit Pai and Jessica Rosenworcel could come when the Senate gavels back into session on Monday, May 7.
For the second time this year, the FCC Wednesday held its monthly meeting short of two commissioners. It may stay that way for a while longer. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has no intentions of lifting his hold on FCC nominees Republican Ajit Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel, who are caught in the middle of Grassley’s beef with how the FCC has handled LightSquared’s requests to build out a wireless network.
The Senate Commerce Committee approved the nominations of Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Varadaraj Pai for to the FCC in a voice vote Thursday morning, but their ultimate confirmation still faces obstacles because of a dispute between the FCC and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
Former Republican Sen. Gordon Smith (Ore.), now the head of the National Association of Broadcasters, on Monday urged the Senate to promptly confirm President Obama’s two nominees to the FCC.
Ending months of speculation in Washington telecom circles, President Barack Obama formally nominated Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Varadaraj Pai as FCC commissioners Monday night.
The behind-the-scenes parlor game to fill Democratic and Republican vacancies on the FCC is just beginning to heat up. It’s the beginning of a process that could lead to political tension in the Senate — not only over the nominees themselves but over the policy direction of an agency that hasrepeatedly found itself in cross hairs over controversial issues, such as net neutrality.