Pai Confirmation Vote Scheduled for Monday

According to the Senate Executive Calendar, further debate on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's nomination will be the first order of business on the Senate floor Monday (Oct. 2), with debate on his nomination to continue, equally divided between the majority and minority, until 5:30, at which time there will be a vote—almost certainly to confirm—and the President immediately notified of the result.

Pai's term expired in June 2016, but commissioners can serve until the end of the next Congress, which will be the end of this year.

Democrats blocked a unanimous consent vote—a fast-track legislative move—last month at the time that new commissioners Brendan Carr and Jessica Rosenworcel got UC approval of their nominations, but it was only a delay until after the August break, when a regular vote could occur, as it will Monday.

Related: Sen. Wyden Slams Pai on Senate Floor

Republicans have the votes to confirm, so it was only a matter of time.

Pai was getting some love from fans to counter some of the many slams from critics as the Senate prepared to vote.

For example, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist said that Pai's confirmation was second in importance only to that of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

"Ajit Pai's focus on connecting unserved Americans should be applauded not blocked. A vote to reconfirm Ajit Pai as Chairman of the FCC will ensure that Americans control their own internet experience, not bureaucrats," said Norquist.

"During his past time as Chairman, Ajit Pai has led the FCC in actions that restore Americans' access to a free and open internet," said Americans for Prosperity VP Christine Harbin. The group has been urging senators to vote "yes" on Pai's nomination.

"Most notable is his progress in scaling back the federal government's role in regulating the internet," said Harbin. "Chairman Pai's policy vision will improve the lives of Americans across the country through improving access to reliable high-speed internet and encouraging innovation and investment. We encourage Senators to support his renomination."

"Chairman Pai has already made much-needed reforms to improve the processes at the FCC and empower his fellow commissioners," said Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) in a lengthy floor statement praising Pai. "He has already shown a commitment to ensuring transparency and openness at the Commission that gives me great confidence in the direction he will lead the agency. Chairman Pai’s new approach I believe will lead to more long-lasting and positive results at the FCC. That is why I believe the elevation of Ajit Pai to be the Chairman of the Commission is a much-needed breath of fresh air, and why I believe he should be confirmed promptly, without further delay.”

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.