McConnell Moves Forward With Trump’s FCC Chairman Pick Despite Dem Opposition

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture Tuesday on the nomination of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, meaning that a vote to reconfirm the official will take place soon, according to representatives from both McConnell and Pai’s respective offices.

The Senate confirmed the final two seats on the FCC in August after several months of vacant positions. President Donald Trump promoted and nominated Pai to chairman of the government agency in January. The five-year term for Pai, which started in 2012 at the recommendation of McConnell, has technically expired. As is typical protocol, however, he is allowed to stay on for the remainder of the year.

Many Democrats want to limit his tenure to that end and are against Pai’s reconfirmation because of his opposition to internet regulations imposed by the Obama-administration’s FCC in the name of net neutrality. There was likely going to be a lengthy and tense debate surrounding Pai’s reconfirmation if McConnell didn’t try to move the process forward.

Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida’s office told The Daily Caller News Foundation that he is opposed to Pai’s reconfirmation. However, many Republicans disagree.

“Chairman Pai has shown a real commitment to closing the digital divide in states like West Virginia, something that is a top priority for Senator Capito,” a spokesman for Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito told TheDCNF. “She plans to support his reconfirmation and looks forward to continuing to work together to expand rural broadband access and better connect communities in West Virginia and across the country.”

“Chairman Pai, a native of Parsons, Kan., is an excellent candidate with a demonstrated history of service and leadership, and his nomination should be considered in a timely fashion,” said Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas.

Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah’s office also told TheDCNF that the congressman also supports Pai’s reconfirmation.

The vote will likely take place Thursday or Friday.

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