Hill Hails Biden Nominations for Key Communications Posts

Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Architect of the Capitol)

Democrats on Capitol Hill led the cheering from that vantage Tuesday (Oct. 26) following President Joe Biden's announcement that he was renominating acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel as commissioner and designating her permanent chair, adding Gigi Sohn for the empty FCC seat and to be the third Democratic commissioner, as well as his decision to nominate Alan Davidson to head the National Telecommunications & Information Administration.

“Today’s announcement by the White House of its slate of nominees for the Federal Communications Commission and National Telecommunications and Information Administration comes at just the right time, with more work to do to improve our broadband deployment, spectrum management, and consumer protections," said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. "I am glad to see Jessica Rosenworcel nominated to be the chair of the FCC, and I look forward to swiftly considering these nominations before the end of the year.”

Sen. Maria Cantwell

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)

“Jessica Rosenworcel is a star — supremely expert and experienced, steadfast and committed as an advocate for consumers and competitors," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a key member of the Senate Commerce Committee, where Rosenworcel once worked as a top staffer. "Having worked with her over many years, I know first-hand her energetic dedication to cracking down on robocalls and other abuses, and expanding broadband access. She knows better than anyone else the vital role the Commission plays in protecting consumers and closing the digital divide by connecting Americans to essential services. I am especially proud of her deep Connecticut roots as a native of West Hartford and graduate of Wesleyan University. I look forward to working with soon-to-be chair Rosenworcel as she continues her bold leadership of the FCC.”

Blumenthal was among the two dozen senators who had sent a letter to the president calling on him to name Rosenworcel permanent chair.

Of Sohn, Blumenthal said: "I also look forward to working with Gigi Sohn, whose decades of experience and commitment to privacy, competition, and access will greatly benefit the FCC and consumers across the country.”

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), formerly chair of the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, had high praise for all the nominees.

“Today President Biden announced historic telecom nominations, including Jessica Rosenworcel as the first woman to serve as permanent chair of the FCC and Gigi Sohn as the first openly LGBTIQ+ commissioner of the FCC," she said. "Rosenworcel and Sohn are brilliant champions for innovation, public safety, national security, universal broadband, net neutrality, and social justice.”

Eshoo was one of over two dozen House members who had urged Rosenworcel be named permanent chair.

“I also applaud the President for naming Alan Davidson as Director of NTIA, and I look forward to continue working together in his new capacity. Bravo to all of today’s nominees," she said, calling for quick Senate confirmation.

Rep. Frank Pallone

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.)  (Image credit: U.S. Congress)

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), joined the applause, or perhaps led it alongside Sen. Cantwell since he is chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which along with Senate Commerce has principal jurisdiction over the FCC and NTIA.

“I commend President Biden for nominating these outstanding leaders for the FCC and NTIA,“ he said. “With these selections, the FCC will be fully equipped to reinstate Title II oversight and net neutrality for broadband providers, continue its work to close the digital divide, and ensure broadband is affordable for all. Today’s announcement will also ensure leadership is in place at the NTIA for the important issues that agency faces, including spectrum management and implementation of the historic broadband infrastructure investment included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.“

He called Rosenworcel an exceptional choice and a consummate public servant, and Sohn a devoted public advocate whose career “has centered on ensuring that the public interest is at the core of the FCC’s thinking. Together, and with current commissioner Geoffrey Starks, they will make an excellent team.”  

Of Davidson, Pallone said: “[His] experience and expertise with telecommunications and technology issues will serve him well as the NTIA moves forward with critical programs passed by Congress.”

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.