WASHINGTON, June 14, 2017 – Ending months of speculation, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, back to her previous role as a Federal Communications Commissioner. The announcement came in a pre-midnight email from the White House.
Attempts to get Rosenworcel’s re-nominated at the end of the last Congress faltered in acrimony between Senate Republicans and Democrats. The conflict caused several otherwise-bipartisan telecommunications legislation to die at the end of the session. With her departure and the resignation of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler just before Inauguration Day, the agency flipped from a 3-2 majority in favor of Democrats to a 2-1 majority in favor of Republicans.
Current Chairman Ajit Pai has used the occasion of a Republican majority to dramatically re-cast a proceeding governing business data services, to reverse broadband privacy rules, to kill a measure designed to open cable modems to video competitors, and to begin reconsidering the Obama-administration agency’s net neutrality regulations.
Rosenworcel’s nomination is seen as strongly supported by Senate Democrats, and is likely to be paired with the nomination of another Republican to the agency. Communication law says the FCC can have up to five commissioners, and that it must have representatives from at least two political parties. The commissioners officially serve for five years, and the chairman is designated by the president. The times that commissioners actually serve in their roles are frequently dictated by the dynamics and timing of the presidential administrations and transitions.
From the text of the White House press release:
If confirmed, Jessica Rosenworcel of Connecticut will serve as a Member of the Federal Communications Commission. Jessica Rosenworcel was recently a Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission from 2012 until January 2017. Previously, she was the Senior Communications Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, working for Senator Jay Rockefeller IV from 2009 to 2011, and Senator Daniel K. Inouye from 2007 to 2008. Before joining the Committee, Ms. Rosenworcel worked at the Federal Communications Commission from 1999 to 2007, serving as Legal Advisor and then Senior Legal Advisor to Commissioner Michael J. Copps (2003-2007), Legal Counsel to the Bureau Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau (2002-2003), and as an Attorney-Advisor in the Policy Division of the Common Carrier Bureau (1999-2002). From 1997 to 1999, she was a communications associate at Drinker Biddle and Reath. Ms. Rosenworcel received a B.A. from Wesleyan University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
(Image from Rosenworcel’s Twitter account.)