Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, says it is past time for the Senate to confirm FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, suggesting it was a promised confirmation that has yet to be honored by the other side of the aisle.
That came at an FCC oversight hearing Wednesday.
Nelson used his opening remarks to make his point. He said her confirmation should come "as soon as possible." Rosenworcel's renomination was unanimously approved by the Commerce Committee late last year, but the full Senate has yet to vote.
Nelson said that he wanted to recall for the record that, at the end of the last Congress (December 2014), Republican FCC commissioner Mike O'Rielly was confirmed without waiting for a Democrat to pair him with in that process on the promise that Republicans would confirm Rosenworcel quickly in the new Congress. He said that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had told him that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had made that promise to then Commerce chairman (and Rosenworcel's former boss) Jay Rockefeller that her nomination would be moved without delay in the new Congress. He pointed out that the new Congress was now in its second year.
He conceded that the nomination was now on the executive calendar and Committee chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) was working on the issue. But he also said they should not risk losing "her leadership and thoughtful approach to the crucial issues. I hope we will fulfill the promise that was made in order to confirm commissioner O'Rielly."
The President renominated the Democratic commissioner for a new five-year term back in May. Her current term expired in June, but she could serve until the end of 2016 without re-nomination.
The committee is Rosenworcel's old stomping grounds. She was a top aide to Rockefeller.
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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.