By Gary Arlen, Broadcasting & Cable Online, 8-3-17
Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr can take their seats for their allotted terms as FCC commissioners, but Chairman Ajit Pai will have to wait until autumn to find out if he can remain at the FCC past next December.
It’s all part of the complicated, partisan deal that led to the voice vote (“unanimous consent”) Thursday in which senators okayed Democrat Rosenworcel for a term through 2020 but only allowed Republican Carr to hold office through June 2018. Republican senators on the Commerce Committee had sought to approve him simultaneously for the unexpired term plus for the ensuing term through 2023.
Senate Democrats stalled Pai’s confirmation, though, in an unexpected show of force. Analysts told B&C that most likely means the Senate will take a recorded vote on Pai’s nomination when it reconvenes in September. In that situation, Senators would be able to speak for or against Pai, and the presumption is that Democrats will use it as a forum to denounce his positing on net neutrality or other stances.