The Senate is moving quickly to advance the pending nomination of Jessica Rosenworcel to Chair of the Federal Communications Commission. Just two weeks after her confirmation hearing, the Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a Dec. 1 vote on whether to give Rosenworcel a new five-year term on the FCC. If approved, her nomination would then be sent to the full Senate for approval.
Democrats are racing to get Rosenworcel’s confirmation finalized because her term expired in June 2020. Under federal law she is allowed to remain on the job only until year-end. After that, Commissioner Geoffrey Starks would become the lone Democrat at the FCC. While he would hold the gavel, Republican Commissioners Brendan Carr and Nathan Simington would have the voting power.
Even if Rosenworcel is seated, the FCC will continue to have a 2-2 deadlock until another Democratic seat is filled. The Senate Commerce Committee is taking steps to advance President Biden’s nomination of Gigi Sohn. Her nomination will also be reviewed during the Committee’s Dec. 1 hearing.
A vote on Sohn's nomination has not been set, but some Senators have said they would like it prior to their holiday recess.The delay was said to be in order to allow lawmakers to gather more information on Sohn. But by splitting her more controversial pick, Democrats hope to ensure a vote on Rosenworcel’s nomination occurs by year-end. She was previously approved on a bipartisan basis in 2017, and was unanimously approved by the Senate in 2012. If confirmed again, Rosenworcel, 50, would break ground by becoming the first woman to lead the FCC.