Trump withdraws former FCC Dem's nomination

Trump withdraws former FCC Dem's nomination
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President Trump has withdrawn the nomination of Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel to the Federal Communications Commission.

Rosenworcel previously served on the Commission from 2012 to 2017. She stepped down in January after lawmakers failed to reach a deal on reconfirming her. But in a last-ditch bid before leaving office, then-President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama: Are we a nation that rips families apart? Another chance to seek the return of fiscal sanity to the halls of Congress Colombia’s new leader has a tough road ahead, and Obama holdovers aren't helping MORE renominated her to the FCC.

The FCC is led by a chair and four commissioners, two from each party. Some speculated that Rosenworcel could be paired with a Republican nominee. Democrats at the time accused Senate GOP leaders of reneging on a deal to fill the FCC's two current vacancies.

The nomination was officially withdrawn on Feb 28th. The decision comes as the Trump administration has pulled back a number of nominees to regulatory commissions and agencies.

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A White House spokesperson told The Hill they could not comment on personnel decisions.

Currently, the FCC has a 2-1 Republican majority, with Republican Chairman Ajit Pai, Republican Commissioner Michael O'Reilly and Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. There is a vacancy for one more Republican and one more Democrat.

Traditionally, the White House has deferred to leaders of the opposition party leadership to pick their two commissioners.

Senate Minority Leader, Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats' education agenda would jeopardize state-level success Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Trump officials move to expand non-ObamaCare health plans | 'Zero tolerance' policy stirs fears in health community | New ObamaCare repeal plan Selling government assets would be a responsible move in infrastructure deal MORE (D-N.Y.) voiced his support for Rosenworcel after Obama renominated her in January, saying that “he was pleased to see President Obama renominate her," and expressing "hopes that her nomination can move forward quickly."

Schumer had strongly pushed for her renomination.

On Thursday, a Schumer spokesperson said that despite Trump's decision to withdraw Rosenworcel, they would push for the Democratic commissioners of their choice.

“We intend to assert our prerogative on nominees as has always been done,” the spokesperson said. “The administration has always deferred to congressional leaders and we fully expect that to continue.”

Sources, including some in the telecom industry, said they believed Schumer would push to get Rosenworcel back on the FCC.

Rosenworcel had received praise from both sides of the aisle. Earlier this year, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Senators hammers Ross on Trump tariffs | EU levies tariffs on US goods | Senate rejects Trump plan to claw back spending Senators hammer Ross over Trump tariffs MORE (R-S.D.) has said he was willing to reconfirm her, but believed the decision should be up to Trump.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) on Thursday hammered the administration's decision.

"I am appalled that the White House withdrew all the pending nominations for federal commissions," Schatz said. "That is an unnecessarily provocative act and infringes on the prerogatives of the Senate. The Administration should defer to congressional leaders on the nominees for these commissions as has been the norm.

"I hope the White House will renominate her and the Senate will keep its commitment to confirm her as we should have done a year ago,” Schatz continued.

This story was last updated at 4:55 p.m.

Harper Niedig contributed.