Surprise: White House Resubmits Rosenworcel Nomination to FCC

The White House has apparently not given up on the re-nomination of FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, or at least is making the gesture.

Her's was among a bunch of nominations submitted by the President to the Senate Wednesday (Jan. 4).

The Senate in the last Congress failed to vote on her re-nomination, which meant she had to leave before the new congress convened Jan. 3.

But, at least theoretically, she could be named to fill the seat she just vacated, paired with the Republican President-elect Donald Trump will be nominating for chairman, or commissioner if he picks the chair from one of the two Republicans currently serving.

She could also be part of a package deal if Trump is looking to get some of his cabinet appointments through, One source said it suggests Rosenworcel still has support from new Senate leadership.

Related: Groups Want Rosenworcel Out, Then Back In

That re-nomination is a long shot, but the White House has at least made that a possibility by starting the wheels in the 115th Congress.

Rosenworcel got bipartisan, unanimous, support during her first Senate confirmation hearing for re-nomination, but was a casualty to a larger fight over nominations between the Republican and Democratic Senate leaders.

“This was the right thing to do,” Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla,), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, told Multichannel News.  “Hopefully, Senate GOP leaders will finally live up to their promise to confirm her.”

"I applaud President Obama’s reappointment of Jessica Rosenworcel to the FCC, and hope that Congress will act quickly to confirm her nomination," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Rosenworcel was unanimously recommended for a new, five-year term by the Senate Commerce Committee after being renominated by President Obama, and she has backers in industry and on the Hill from both parties. But her reconfirmation was held hostage to a political fight unrelated to her qualifications or record.

There was a brief hold on her nomination  by a pair of Senate Democrats unhappy over the fact that she had issues with the FCC's set-top box proposal that were not able to be resolved by the time of a scheduled meeting vote, but that was quickly resolved.

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.