Senate fails to confirm FCC commissioner after lengthy battle

Senate fails to confirm FCC commissioner after lengthy battle
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Jessica Rosenworcel will be forced step down from her post as commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission after Congress finished its last legislative session of the year on Saturday without confirming her.

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Rosenworcel, who is a Democrat, will step down in January when her term ends. Congress’s inaction will leave the commission’s panel in a partisan stalemate with two Republican commissioners — Ajit Pai and Mike O’Rielly — and two Democratic commissioners — Chairman Tom Wheeler and Mignon Clyburn — until the Senate confirms a a new commissioner, likely a Republican.

In a last-ditch effort last Thursday, Wheeler offered to step down in exchange for a Rosenworcel confirmation after he avoided a direct answer on his intentions to remain or depart from the panel after President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSanders: FBI's investigation of wife won’t be a ‘distraction’ Schiff: Obama's delayed response to Russian interference 'a very serious mistake' The Memo: GOP pushes Trump to curb Mueller attacks MORE’s victory. Wheeler will almost certainly lose his chairmanship after Trump takes office in January. He has not indicated if he will stay on the panel as a commissioner until his term ends in 2018.  

Jeffrey Eisenach, Trump's FCC landing team adviser, said last week that a Republican commissioner will take over for Wheeler as chairman. Many expect Pai to edge out O’Rielly for the position.

Lawmakers had been working on Rosenworcel's confirmation for more than a year. Retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidWarren cautions Dems against infighting Dems see surge of new candidates Dems to grind Senate to a halt over ObamaCare repeal fight MORE (D-Nev.) said her confirmation was supposed to be part of an agreement struck in 2015 to jointly confirm both a Republican and a Democrat at the same time. O’Rielly received confirmation, but Rosenworcel did not.