Senate Will Proceed To Vote on Rosenworcel FCC Nomination

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel
(Image credit: FCC)

The Senate voted Monday (Dec. 6) to invoke cloture and proceed to a vote on a new, five-year, term for acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel.

But it was not coronation, with a number of Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, opposing her nomination. 

The vote, which required 60 yeas to close any debate and move to confirmation, was 64 to 27. 

The final confirmation vote could come as early as Tuesday. 

If she is confirmed, as expected, the President has designated her chair, the first woman to head the agency in a non-acting capacity--Mignon Clyburn was the first female acting chair.

Speaking about Rosenworcel in advance of the cloture vote Monday, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has principal oversight of the FCC, called Rosenworcel, urged her colleagues to vote yes, saying Rosenworcel would work on better broadband mapping and promoting telemedicine. "In selecting her, President Biden picked someone with great experience, with great knowledge of the FCC at a moment where we need tremendous leadership," said Cantwell. 

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called Rosenworcel, also rose to endorse Rosenworcel, who he called a tireless advocate for consumers, competition and children. He also said Rosenworcel had endorsed using Title II to restore broadband regs. 

Despite the "no" votes that followed, no Republican stood to speak in opposition.

Among the Republicans voting to advance Rosenworcel's nomination were Sens. Chuck Grassley of Nebraska, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.

Also: Senate Commerce Advances Rosenworcel Nomination

The new term would give Rosenworcel new job security--she would have to exit the FCC if not confirmed by year's end--but she still lacks a majority and that could take a while given the threat--or more like the promise--of Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) Monday (Dec. 6) to block the nomination of Gigi Sohn who would be the third Democrat on the five-member commission. ■

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.