Week ahead: Dems look for way forward on FCC nomination

Week ahead: Dems look for way forward on FCC nomination
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President Obama and Democrats are making a last-ditch try to get Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel back on the Federal Communications Commission.

President Obama on Wednesday renominated Rosenworcel for a five-year term.

Rosenworcel, a former FCC commissioner, failed to be reconfirmed at the end of the 2016 legislative session, after a two-year fight over her nomination. Rosenworcel failed to get a vote, despite efforts from lawmakers to try and cut a deal and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's offer to step down in exchange.

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Wheeler is still stepping down when President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE is sworn into office. Control of the FCC will swing to Republicans, but two of the five commissioners must be Democrats.

That has Dems hopeful that Rosenworcel can return, but its unclear if anything will be different this time around.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Crying on TV doesn't qualify Kimmel to set nation's gun agenda Trump knocks ‘fake’ news coverage of his trip to Puerto Rico MORE (D-N.Y.), who is a key player in advancing Rosenworcel's nomination, has pushed for her.

But Republicans will likely be reluctant to work out a deal on Rosenworcel with Trump slated to take office in two weeks.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGun proposal picks up GOP support Overnight Regulation: Senate panel approves driverless car bill | House bill to change joint-employer rule advances | Treasury to withdraw proposed estate tax rule | Feds delaying Obama methane leak rule Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-S.D.), another key voice, has said that while he respects her work, he'll wait on confirmations until Trump is in the White House.

The tech industry will be closely watching.

Rosenworcel has supported key elements of net neutrality that Trump and Republicans have criticized. And Trump's picks to helm his FCC landing team have also publicly criticized much of net neutrality.

The FCC currently has two Republican commissioners -- Ajit Pai and Mike O'Rielly -- and two Democrats -- Wheeler and Mignon Clyburn. The Commission will flip to a 2-1 Republican majority, leaving Trump room to appoint a new Republican Commissioner and a Democrat.

Pai is expected by many in the industry to become the next chair, at least for the interim.

Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceDems face close polls in must-win Virginia Report: Trump administration officials urged furious Tillerson not to quit Authorities recover 47 firearms in connection with Las Vegas shooter MORE ally Brant Hershman is the frontrunner for the other Republican commissioner's spot according to a Politico report.

Outside of the FCC intrigue, Republicans are busy rounding out their committee assignments and chairs.

A committee aide told The Hill that Energy and Commerce Committee GOP subcommittee assignments are expected to be completed sometime next week.

Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnEquifax breach is the wake-up call we expected Tennessee governor considering Senate run Five major potential Senate candidates MORE on Friday was tapped as the chair of the key Technology and Communications subcommittee. Blackburn is also a vocal critic of the net neutrality rules, putting her in the driver's seat as Republicans weigh their response to the controversial rules.


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