×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

President Trump Renominates Ajit Pai for New FCC Term

President Trump is renominating Ajit Pai for another term at the FCC, giving a boost to the FCC chairman seven weeks after elevating him to the top post at the agency, according to industry sources.

“I am deeply honored to have been nominated by President Trump to serve a second term on the Federal Communications Commission,” Pai said in a statement.  “If I am fortunate to be confirmed by the Senate, I will continue to work with my colleagues to connect all Americans with digital opportunity, foster innovation, protect consumers, promote public safety, and make the FCC more open and transparent to the American people.”

Trump and Pai met at the White House on Monday for a meeting that was closed to the press, although an FCC official said that no pending business before the agency was discussed.

The speculation, though, was the topic of Pai’s reappointment was on the agenda. Pai was confirmed to serve as an FCC commissioner in 2012, and Trump elevated him to chair the agency in January.

But Pai’s tenure on the commission was set to expire later this year. With his renomination, he will now face Senate confirmation for another 5-year term.

The FCC currently has a 2-1 split, with Republicans commanding a majority. Pai in his first weeks has carried out an agenda of rolling back some Obama-era regulations, including aspects of privacy rules. He also has expressed his dislike of net neutrality rules passed in 2015, although he has yet to unveil any plan toward repealing it. Pai has said that he is not opposed to any regulation when it comes to the open internet, but has characterized the current approach as heavy handed. In a speech last week, he called the FCC’s current rules a “mistake.”‘

Word of Pai’s renomination drew praise from industry representatives.

“Charter congratulates Chairman Pai on his renomination to the FCC. As Chairman, he has already put points on the board on behalf of consumers including by increasing regulatory transparency and prioritizing rural broadband deployment,” said Catherine Bohigian, executive vice president of government affairs for Charter Communications. “Chairman Pai understands that regulatory stability allows businesses to grow and create jobs, spurs innovation and strengthens our economy all in the public interest.”

Michael Powell, president and CEO of NCTA — The Internet and Television Assn., said, “In just a few short months, Chairman Pai has embarked on a thoughtful, pro-consumer agenda that focuses on promoting Internet freedom and expanding the benefits of broadband to all Americans.” Powell is a former chairman of the FCC under President George W. Bush.

Pai is scheduled to appear on Wednesday before a Senate committee with oversight over the FCC. Another hearing had been planned before a House committee, but that has been postponed.

Trump still has two vacancies to fill, and that may be an issue when it comes to Democratic support for Pai’s renomination.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet. said that they are “still waiting for the renomination of Commissioner Rosenworcel, and that will determine how I and other Democrats on the committee are likely to handle all nominations including Chairman Pai’s.”

Rosenworcel served on the FCC since 2012, but was forced to vacate her position at the end of 2016 after Senate Republican leadership failed to move her renomination to the floor. In his last weeks in office, President Barack Obama sent her nomination to the Senate again, but Trump rescinded that last week.

No more than three commissioners from the same party can serve on the FCC.

 

More Biz

  • Mo'Nique

    Mo'Nique Files Race and Sex Discrimination Suit Against Netflix

    Mo’Nique filed a discrimination suit against Netflix on Thursday, alleging that the streaming service broke the law when it gave her a lowball offer for a comedy special. The comedian — whose legal name is Monique Hicks — accused Netflix of race and sex discrimination. In January 2018, Mo’Nique called for a boycott of Netflix, [...]

  • Saugus High School

    Shooting at California's Saugus High School Leaves Two Dead, Multiple Injured

    Two teenagers died and three others were injured after a shooter opened fire on Thursday morning at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, about 40 miles north of Los Angeles. The shooter, a 16-year-old student, pulled a handgun from his backpack and opened fire on five other students on the school’s quad around 7:30 a.m., [...]

  • Variety New Leaders Agents and Managers

    Variety's New Leaders 2019: These Representatives Are Making a Mark on the Industry

    Every year, Variety seeks to identify the next generation of leaders in the entertainment business, looking for representatives in the creative community, film, TV, music and digital. This year’s group has a heavy New York focus: We selected executives from forward thinking companies such as Spotify, Group Nine and Endeavor Audio, as well as writers [...]

  • Lilly Burns Tony Hernandez

    Jax Media Soars by Amplifying Unique Voices of Auteur TV

    Jax Media has emerged during the past few years as one of television’s busiest and buzziest production companies. The New York-based company headed by four partners — Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, John Skidmore and Brooke Posch — has an enviable track record of scouting new voices and executing stylish shows on a less-than-stratospheric budgets. The [...]

  • ELAINE WELTEROTH Variety New Leaders

    Variety's New Leaders: Ronan Farrow, Elaine Welteroth Are Making a Big Social Impact

    Every year, Variety seeks to identify the next generation of leaders in the entertainment business, looking for representatives in the creative community, film, TV, music and digital. This year’s group has a heavy New York focus: We selected executives from forward thinking companies such as Spotify, Group Nine and Endeavor Audio, as well as writers [...]

  • Tommy Thayer, Gene Simmons, Eric Singer,

    Kiss Reveal Final Dates of ‘End of the Road’ Farewell Tour

    Just hours after cancelling their Australia tour due to Paul Stanley’s bout with influenza, Kiss have announced the “last legs” of their “End of the Road” farewell tour. According to the announcement, the trek will officially come to a close on July 21, 2021 at a location in the band’s hometown of New York City [...]

  • Bob IgerSimon Weisenthal Gala honoring Bob

    Bob Iger Joins MasterClass Roster for Course on Business Strategy and Leadership

    Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger has signed on to the MasterClass digital education service, offering a course in business strategy and leadership. The course, available as of Thursday, will detail Iger’s view on the importance of taking bold steps and embracing mistakes in business. Iger also promises to dig into “case studies” of some of Disney’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content