FCC's Rosenworcel Could Still Get Confirmation Vote

There was some buzz late Tuesday (Nov. 29) that Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel could get an 11th hour confirmation vote after all.

Without that Senate vote, she would have to leave the commission at the beginning of January.

Tech reporters for Hill paper Politico reported that retiring Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said they were close to a deal for Rosenworcel's vote. Incoming minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was also said to be interested in the outcome.

A lobbyist speaking on background said that they had been told that if Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could get some Democratic help with his pick for a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has also been held up, Rosenworcel might be able to get a vote.

Rosenworcel's renomination by President Barack Obama for a new, five-year, term was unanimously approved out of the Senate Commerce Committee late last year but has not gotten a Senate vote.

Her current term expired in June, but she can serve until the beginning of the next Congress--in January.

A Reid spokesperson was not available for comment at press time.

A brief hold on Rosenworcel's nomination by members of Rosenworcel's own party was lifted last week.

An unhappy Reid took to the Senate floor back in April to call for a floor vote on Rosenworcel's renomination, in the process saying McConnell had broken his word to act on Rosenworcel after the Democrats agreed last year to vote out Republican Commissioner Michael O'Rielly. Usually commissioners are paired, Democrat and Republican, before being voted, but Reid said he agreed to vote O'Rielly by himself after getting McConnell's promise that Rosenworcel would also get a vote, which never happened.

That fight led to Reid holding up various communications-related bills.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.