Sources: McConnell Files Cloture on Pai Nomination

It is looking likely that FCC chairman Ajit Pai will get his confirmation vote to remain on the FCC.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has filed cloture on the re-nomination of Ajit Pai to the FCC, according to Hill sources following the Capitol Hill progress of that nomination. That would pave the way for his eventual renomination, likely by early next week.

Republicans were said to have wanted to secure a confirmation vote before Columbus Day (Oct. 9).

Related: FCC Eliminates Paper Rules Requirement

Invoking cloture is a way to limit debate and, in this case, to overcome an effort by some Democrats to block a confirmation vote on Pai based on their dislike of his deregulatory policies.

Pai's term ended in June 2016. He can serve until the end of the current Congress without renomination, but would have to exit at the beginning of 2018.

The Democrat's move was widely seen as a chance to register their unhappiness with Pai's rollback of Title II plans, reinstatment of the UHF discount and the related Sinclair/Tribune deal, as well as his general deregulatory bent, rather than a serious threat to his renomination by Republicans who control both Houses of Congress and a Republican President.

According to a Senate Democratic floor update Tuesday (Sept. 26), after the Pai cloture vote on Thursday, if cloture is invoked, as expected, debate would be limited to 30 hours—where the Dems could register that unhappiness—after which there would be a confirmation vote.

The Dems were saying there might be agreement on the nomination even before Thursday so that the floor could be open for other business.

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.