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Sen. Nelson: Rosenworcel Should Be Re-Seated on FCC

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, said Wednesday that he was frustrated that former Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel was not sitting before him.

That came at the opening of an FCC oversight hearing at which all three sitting commissioners were testifying.

Rosenworcel exited at the end of the year after her re-nomination was not voted by the full Senate. 

Democrats had said they had Republican leadership's promise that Rosenworcel would get a vote after they agreed to vote out the nomination of Republican Michael O'Rielly without pairing it with hers, as was the usual process.

"The failure to confirm her last Congress, frankly, is a black mark on the Senate," Nelson said.

President Donald Trump last week pulled her nomination. "I can only hope that the White House will see the error of its ways and re-nominate this impressive public servant for another FCC term once again," said Nelson. "And if that happens as it should, it is imperative for the Senate leadership to live up to its promise and confirm her nomination with all dispatch."

Committee chairman John Thune agreed that the FCC needed to be at a full complement of five commissioners—there are currently three—and also pointed out at the hearing that Democrat Mignon Clyburn's term is up in June (though she could serve until the end of the Congress after this one). 

Thune said he shared Nelson's interest in getting nominations approved and would commit to a speedy process, though he did not explicitly cite Rosenworcel as one of those.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) echoed Nelson's sentiments, saying that he was disappointed in Rosenworcel's nomination was being pulled, said he was counting on everyone to honor their commitments, and suggested pairing her nomination with Pai's renomination was a way to speed both nominations to approval.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) also put in a plug for Rosenworcel, joking that she was someone whose name was even harder to pronounce than her own.