Senate panel approves another term for FCC Democrat

The Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday approved Federal Communications Commission (FCC) member Jessica Rosenworcel (D) for a second term at the agency. 

Rosenworcel, a former staffer on the Senate committee, moved over to the FCC in 2012. Her re-nomination for a full five-year term was quickly approved by voice vote at the start of a markup Wednesday.

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Her confirmation hearing in late October went relatively smoothly, with only a few tough questions about the FCC controversial net neutrality rules, concerns about the collection of FCC enforcement fines and criticism about the agency's sometimes delayed responses to Congress. 

It is unclear when her re-nomination will get a vote in the full Senate. Usually partisan commission nominations move in pairs — one Democrat and one Republican. Leaders had predicted her nomination might move with a new Republican Federal Trade Commission nominee, but no one has been picked for the position yet. 

There is no rush to move Rosenworcel's nomination. Thought her term technically expired earlier this year, she would be able to serve throughout President Obama's term regardless. 

Along with a handful of other agenda items, the committee also approved a short bill dealing with how the government handles the cash deposits that telecom companies put down in order to compete in spectrum auctions. With a major auction coming up next year, the bill requires those deposits to go into the general treasury account, canceling out prior language from a few decades ago that no longer applies. 

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThunePoll: 8 in 10 people in key states concerned about driverless cars Hillicon Valley: Mnuchin urges antitrust review of tech | Progressives want to break up Facebook | Classified election security briefing set for Tuesday | Tech CEOs face pressure to appear before Congress Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA MORE's (R-S.D.) office said lawmakers had already talked with the FCC about the change.