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Biden nominates Rosenworcel for FCC chair

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Jessica Rosenworcel from the Federal Communication Commission testifies in Congress before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee. She is located in the Rayburn House Office Building at Capitol Hill on December 5, 2019, Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

The historically lengthy waiting period was finally over when President Joe Biden made his nominations Tuesday to the Federal Communications Commission.

In the following: press releaseAccording to the White House, Biden will designate Jessica Rosenworcel as Acting Chair, a Democrat to assume the permanent role and nominate her for another term. Biden also intends to nominate Gigi Sohn (another Democrat) to the fifth FCC commissioner position. He also plans to nominate Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Rosenworcel (if confirmed) will take the office of permanent chair for the agency. Sohn will be the first LGBTIQ+ commissioner.

Many legislators and advocacy groups were frustrated by Biden’s inability to nominate anyone to the FCC, even though Rosenworcel was appointed acting chair just after his inauguration. The agency was unable to move forward without a permanent chair, and the 2-2 deadlock between Republican to Democratic commissioners. If Rosenworcel or Sohn are both confirmed, the Democats will have a majority of 3-2.

An ensemble of 25 Senators wroteRosenworcel was last month recommended by Biden to become the permanent chair.

The lawmakers stated that they represent 17 states with a variety of policy and political views. However, one thing unites us is the belief in Acting Chair Rosenworcel being the best qualified and most competent person to head the FCC during this critical time. We believe Acting Chair Rosenworcel is likely to be confirmed without any obstacles.

It’s particularly significant because Rosenworcel is still at risk of leaving the commission in the middle of the year unless Rosenworcel is confirmed by the Senate to another five-year term. She has been out of office since 2020. Because they are still focused on the passage of Biden’s infrastructure package, lawmakers will have little time to hold confirmation proceedings.

Rosenworcel would be removed from the Commission before any nominees can be confirmed. Republicans would then hold a majority of 2-1 on the Commission until the Senate acts.

Sohn is a former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s top adviser and has long been considered a favourite to be nominated by progressive groups. Sohn was a staunch supporter for net neutrality and worked alongside Wheeler as he developed the 2015 rules under the Obama administration. These rules were repealed by the Trump administration.

Sohn has most recently served as a distinguished fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy.

The nominee for NTIA was Davidson. He most recently worked at Mozilla, which is a strong supporter of net neutrality. He was previously the head of government relations for Americas at Google’s Washington public policy office.

Rosenworcel made the closing of the “Homework Gap” a key part her platform. She stressed equity as she worked to connect more homes to the internet.

Biden previously appointed progressives to the Federal Trade Commission (White House) and to the National Economic Council (FTC). Both men have been harsh about Big Tech firms and how the antitrust laws are failing to adequately account for them.

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