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CES 2019: FCC’s Ajit Pai, Other U.S. Officials Cancel Vegas Trips Because of Government Shutdown

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and other U.S. government officials will be no-shows at CES 2019 this week as a result of agency funding lapses from the ongoing government shutdown.

Pai had been scheduled for a one-on-one interview with Consumer Technology Assn. president/CEO Gary Shapiro on Tuesday, Jan. 8, from 1:30-2 p.m. PT. Pai, a Republican-appointed commissioner named head of the FCC by Donald Trump, also canceled his trip to 2018 CES, coming after his controversial proposal to roll back Obama-era network neutrality rules in December 2017 and targeted harassment of Pai and his family over the issue.

In a statement Saturday, the CTA — the trade group that runs CES — said some other U.S. government personnel would not be making the trip to Vegas either because of the shutdown. Sessions pulled from the schedule include a panel with FCC commissioner Brendan Carr and FTC commissioner Rebecca Slaughter previously set for Jan. 8.

“Because of the government shutdown, some of our scheduled government speakers at CES 2019 have alerted us that they must cancel their travel to the show,” Shapiro said in a statement. “As a result, some of our scheduled CES 2019 programming and speakers will change.”

In addition to Pai, Carr and Slaughter, others canceling CES appearances include reps from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Department of Homeland Security; the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and the Food and Drug Administration.

For now, among officials still scheduled to appear are U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, set to deliver a keynote speech Wednesday, Jan. 9, from 11 a.m.-noon PT. Her talk will focus on the “future of drones and self-driving technology and how they will revolutionize transportation,” according to the CTA.

CTA expects more than 182,000 attendees for 2019 CES, which officially runs Jan. 8-11. Follow updates from the show, including coverage of the full-day Variety Entertainment Summit at CES on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at this link. Read Variety‘s preview of technologies to watch at the world’s biggest consumer-electronics convention.

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