Senate Confirms New FTC Slate

The Senate has voted to confirm the five new commissioners for the Federal Trade Commission, meaning the current two-person FTC comprising acting chair Maureen Ohlhausen and Democratic commissioner Terrell McSweeny will be exiting.

The vote was an expeditious one. The fifth and final nominee, Rebecca Slaughter, was favorably reported out of the Commerce Committee this week with chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) saying he hoped a vote could happen as soon as next week.

The other four nominees, Joseph Simons (chairman), Noah Joshua Phillips, Christine Wilson, and Rohit Chopra were already reported favorably by the committee Feb. 28.

The FTC is growing in importance with the FCC's decision to make it the chief net neutrality enforcement agency by reclassifying ISPs as information services under Title I.

“I congratulate Joe, as well as Noah, Rebecca, and Rohit on their Senate confirmations," said Ohlhausen. "I look forward to welcoming them to the Commission once their appointments are made final by President Trump. I also congratulate Christine, who will take my seat if I am so fortunate as to be confirmed by the Senate as a Judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.”

“A fully confirmed FTC means the commission is back to its full strength as the cop on the beat to keep consumers safe and promote a vibrant free market. From the Internet of Things, to data security, robocalls, and more, we will continue to work closely with the FTC on many important consumer protection issues,” said House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Digital Commerce Subcommittee Chairman Bob Latta (R-Ohio). "The committee will also continue its vigorous oversight of the FTC as well as process reform efforts to improve the commission’s ability to protect consumers from ever-evolving harms. We thank Acting Chairman Ohlhausen for her leadership, and we look forward to working with Chairman Simons and the commissioners following today’s confirmation.”

“Today, the Senate confirmed a full slate of commissioners to the FTC, restoring full capacity to the agency after operating with only two commissioners for over a year,” said Thune. “The FTC is a critically important agency focused on ensuring both consumer protection and fair competition in the marketplace. I am grateful to Acting Chairman Ohlhausen and Commissioner McSweeny for their leadership over the past year, and look forward to working with the new chairman and commissioners on challenging issues such as robocalling, privacy and data security as they step into their new roles.”“We congratulate all of the nominees – FTC Chairman nominee Joseph Simons and the four Commissioner nominees Rohit Chopra, Noah Phillips, Rebecca Slaughter and Christine Wilson – on their approval by the Senate," said NCTA-The Internet & Television Association in a statement. "Given the rapid growth and significant changes in the technology and communications marketplace in recent years, the FTC will play a critical role in ensuring that consumers can both benefit from the tremendous innovation and diversity in services and have a strong cop on the beat to police violations and provide strong consumer protections.”

“Mobile Future congratulates the new Chairman and Commissioners on their confirmation to serve at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)," said Mobile Future chief public policy advisor Robert McDowell. "Their leadership comes at a critical time for consumer protection in the digital age. We look forward to continuing our work with the FTC to ensure that consumers and entrepreneurs have the protections they deserve across their Internet experience.”

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.