Senate Confirms Final Two Seats AT FCC That Have Been Vacant For Months

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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The Senate confirmed Republican Brendan Carr and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel Thursday to the final two seats on the Federal Communications Commission, after several months of no one filling the positions.

President Donald Trump nominated Carr and Rosenworcel in June. They join Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, and Republican Michael O’Rielly at the agency, completing the traditional five-seat board.

“I am really excited to have Brendan and Jessica working at the FCC soon as Commissioners. They are both talented public servants,” Pai told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview. “I have the chance to get to know each of them very well over my time at the Commission. I am really optimistic about the skills and the dedication they bring to the table. They both know these issues pretty well, whether it’s wireless, or public safety, or the like.”

Rosenworcel was originally nominated to serve as commissioner to the FCC by former President Barack Obama in October 2011. She was eventually confirmed by the Senate several months later in May 2012, and served until the beginning of 2017. Her confirmation was held up by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa who refused to move forward with the process until he received information relating to a project he was working on.

Pai, who was also nominated by Obama, was somewhat caught up in the highly political situation as well as his confirmation process coincided with Rosenworcel’s.

Carr prior to the official confirmation served as general counsel of the FCC, and lead adviser to Pai before that.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida objected to Carr’s experience as Pai’s consultant during a June hearing. Carr vowed to be independent.

Carr will take over former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s term which runs through June 2018. Nelson, who is ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, protested the idea of giving him two consecutive terms, according to InsideRadio, which would add five years to his tenure, extending until June 2023. He was ultimately confirmed for both stints on a 14-13 party-line vote.

“I think having the FCC back at full strength,” Pai continued, “will just help reinvigorate our efforts to closing the digital divide to protecting consumers, and promoting public safety.”

Pai, who was renominated by Trump in March to serve a five-year term, is still waiting to be reconfirmed by the Senate so he can continue serving as the chairman.

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