In a low-key announcement on June 13, President Donald Trump indicated that he planned to nominate former FCC Commission member Jessica Rosenworcel to fill the open Democratic slot on the FCC. Rosenworcel served on the Commission from 2012 to 2016, leaving at the end of last year after the US Senate was unable to extend her term before time ran out on that session of Congress. Rosenworcel has been a vocal supporter of net neutrality and supported rules drafted by then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler that would treat Internet providers more like utilities. The FCC’s new Republican Chairman, Ajit Pai, has reversed course on that initiative.
“I congratulate Jessica Rosenworcel on the announcement that President Trump will nominate her to serve another term on the Federal Communications Commission.” Pai said in a prepared statement. “She has a distinguished record of public service, including the four-and-a-half years we worked together at this agency, and I look forward to working with her once again to advance the public interest.”
Rosenworcel also has advocated for FCC initiatives that seek to close what she calls “the homework gap” stemming from disparities in the availability of broadband service, especially in rural communities, which can hamper the ability of students in those areas to use the Internet for school assignments. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer formally recommended Rosenworcel’s appointment to the open FCC slot.
The lone Democratic member on a now three-member FCC, Mignon Clyburn, also congratulated Rosenworcel. “Jessica has been a tireless advocate for bridging the ‘homework gap,’ a leader in the effort to modernize our 9-1-1 call centers, and a champion for freeing up more unlicensed spectrum,” Clyburn said. “I look forward to working with her in the fight for an open Internet, affordable broadband and strong consumer privacy protections.” Clyburn’s term expires this month, and it’s not yet clear that she will be renominated.
Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, in a statement, said Rosenworcel would “bring her expertise, insight and thoughtfulness to communications issues,” if she achieves Senate confirmation. “I look forward to the prospect of returning to work with her on these matters,” O’Rielly added.
President Trump is expected to announce a Republican candidate to the FCC, to return the Commission to its full five-member complement.