Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

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Senators push for Biden to name Rosenworcel as permanent FCC chair

The senators urged Biden to name her permanent chair 'as quickly as possible.'

 

Andrew Wyrich

Tech

Published Sep 24, 2021   Updated Sep 24, 2021, 11:41 am CDT

A group of senators are urging President Joe Biden to name Jessica Rosenworcel the permanent chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after months of dragging his feet in filling out the agency.

Biden named Rosenworcel the acting chair of the FCC shortly after taking office in January. However, Rosenworcel was already a commissioner at the agency, so naming her still left the FCC in a deadlocked 2-2 makeup, with two Republicans and two Democrats.

As president, Biden has the ability to nominate a fifth commissioner to fill out the FCC—something he has faced pressure to do since taking office—and name someone to be the permanent chair of it. A 3-2 Democratic majority at the FCC would allow it to tackle a number of issues that would take a party-line vote, such as restoring net neutrality rules and the agency’s authority over broadband.

To fill out the agency, Biden could elevate Rosenworcel to the permanent chair and nominate a fifth commissioner or he could nominate someone else to become the chair. However, he has taken far longer than expected to do so.

Earlier this week, 25 senators wrote a letter to Biden showing their support for Rosenworcel to be named the permanent chair. She would be the first woman to be named the permanent chair of the agency. The letter was published by Punchbowl News.

The senators argued that the infrastructure bill and other broadband initiatives need “qualified appointees” to “coordinate the deployment effort across your administration.”

“Accordingly, the decision to nominate Acting Chair Rosenworcel to a full term as Commissioner and designate her as the permanent Chair of the FCC can no longer be delayed,” the letter reads. “We urge your administration to appoint her to this role as quickly as possible. Further delay simply puts at risk the major broadband goals that we share and that Congress has worked hard to advance as part of your administration’s agenda.”

They added that “there is no better qualified or more competent person” to be named chair of the agency than Rosenworcel.

The letter was led by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Sen. Angus King (I-Me.), and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). However, many other senators including Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also signed on.

In February, a group of more than 30 Democratic congresswomen urged Biden to make Rosenworcel the chair of the agency.


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*First Published: Sep 24, 2021, 9:09 am CDT