Jessica Rosenworcel’s FCC Future in Doubt as Senate Eyes Adjournment

With the Senate set to adjourn as early as this evening, the future of FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel is in doubt as lawmakers have so far failed to reconfirm her for another term.

Her tenure will end on Dec. 31 unless the Senate includes her renomination in its a flurry of end-of-the-year legislation.

The Senate Commerce Committee approved her reconfirmation late last year, but it has been held up since then.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday afternoon that there were no announcements on nominees.

Rosenworcel, a Democrat, was sworn in May of 2012, and President Barack Obama nominated her for an additional term in May of 2015. Although the Senate Commerce Committee approved the nomination last December, it has been held up in partisan wrangling.

Senate Democrats accuse Republicans of reneging on an agreement between Minority Leader Harry Reid and Majority Leader McConnell to reconfirm her. But Republicans also wanted assurances, even before the election, that Wheeler would depart when a new administration took over.

The speculation is that Wheeler, a Democrat, will do so anyway, even though his term runs through 2018. Past FCC chairmen have left around the time of the start of a new administration.

The party that controls the White House, then, has the opportunity to command a majority on the FCC.

If Rosenworcel were reconfirmed and Wheeler departs, that would then leave the FCC with a 2-2 deadlock until a Trump nominee for the vacant position can be confirmed. That process could take up to six months.

That’s why some conservatives have been pushing for McConnell not to take action on Rosenworcel’s nomination, as it would leave the Republicans with a 2-1 majority from the outset.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing

    Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing From Usher, Adam Lambert

    A Beverly Hills real estate agent has been arrested on charges of stealing from the homes of celebrities, including Usher, Adam Lambert and “Real Housewives” star Dorit Kemsley. Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of encouraging an accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter homes during open houses in order to steal from them. Ackerman allegedly sold [...]

  • Pod Save America Hosts on Trump

    'Pod Save America' Hosts on Trump, the Democratic Primary and What's Wrong With Cable News

    Like many Democrats, Tanya Somanader was blindsided by the 2016 presidential election. A veteran of the Obama White House and a former speechwriter and digital specialist for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Somanader was gearing up for a Hillary Clinton administration. Instead, she had to grapple with the reality of a Donald Trump presidency. “A lot [...]

  • Ann Sarnoff Warner Bros

    Ann Sarnoff Formally Takes Reins of Warner Bros. as CEO

    The Ann Sarnoff era at Warner Bros. has begun. Sarnoff formally took the reins as Warner Bros. chair-CEO on Thursday, two months after she was appointed to the post. Sarnoff told employees in a memo that she has been impressed by the company’s track record during the past year amid a period of upheaval for [...]

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Harvey Weinstein to Be Arraigned on New Indictment

    Harvey Weinstein is set to appear in court on Monday for an arraignment on a new indictment, the Manhattan D.A.’s office said Thursday. Prosecutors announced last week that they would seek a fresh indictment, which would allow actress Annabella Sciorra to testify at Weinstein’s trial. The move came after Justice James Burke ruled on Aug. [...]

  • AI Technology David Beckham

    How AI Tech Is Changing Dubbing, Making Stars Like David Beckham Multilingual

    David Beckham does not speak Arabic, Hindi or Mandarin. But when the soccer legend starred in a PSA for malaria awareness this spring, he effortlessly switched among these and six other languages, thanks to cutting-edge technology that could soon change how Hollywood localizes its movies and TV shows. The PSA in question was produced with technology [...]

  • Eminem Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Copyright

    Eminem Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Massive Copyright Infringement

    Eight Mile Style, a publishing company that holds administration rights to Eminem’s early catalog, filed a major copyright infringement lawsuit against Spotify late Thursday, claiming that the streaming giant has no license to host about 250 of Eminem’s songs, while also taking aim at the Music Modernization Act, the federal law enacted last year to [...]

  • iQIYI headquarters building in Beijing

    China’s iQIYI in Talks for Indonesia Expansion

    Chinese streaming firm iQIYI is in negotiations to expand further into Southeast Asia through a venture with Indonesia’s Media Nusantara Citra. iQIYI announced its first step outside Chinese-majority territories in June, when it revealed a linkup in Malaysia with pay-TV leader Astro. It also operates in Taiwan. In April, the company said that it planned [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content