Overnight Tech: Senate confirms two FCC commissioners | Dems want more time on net neutrality | Tech groups push White House on 'startup visa'

Overnight Tech: Senate confirms two FCC commissioners | Dems want more time on net neutrality | Tech groups push White House on 'startup visa'
© Greg Nash

SENATE CONFIRMS FCC NOMINEES: The Senate voted on Thursday to confirm two new commissioners to the remaining open seats at the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC will now return to its full quorum after the confirmations of Republican Brendan Carr and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel. Three Republicans and two Democrats now sit on the FCC.

Rosenworcel is returning to her post as commissioner after serving in the same capacity from 2012 to 2017. She was appointed to the FCC by former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama to visit Kenya, South Africa for Obama Foundation in July Overnight Energy: EPA declines to write new rule for toxic spills | Senate blocks move to stop Obama water rule | EPA bought 'tactical' pants and polos Clarifying the power of federal agencies could offer Trump a lasting legacy MORE. She will serve a five-year term.


Senate Democrats raised concerns with Carr's confirmation in hearings earlier this week. They argued that Carr should only be approved for a single 1 1/2 year term, while Republicans argued he should serve a 5-year term.

Senate Commerce Committee ranking member Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonOvernight Defense: Defense spending bill amendments target hot-button issues | Space Force already facing hurdles | Senators voice 'deep' concerns at using military lawyers on immigration cases Rubio heckled by protestors outside immigration detention facility Obstacles to Trump's 'Space Force' could keep proposal grounded for now MORE (D-Fla.) said Wednesday that Senate leaders were negotiating a deal for a final vote on the confirmations. According to Nelson, the agreement would only include approval of Carr's first 18-month term.

Carr was ultimately confirmed Thursday to a single 1 1/2 year term.

Current Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai still needs to be reconfirmed, but the Senate is soon expected to vote in favor of his reconfirmation.

Read the original here.


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MORE ROBOCALL FINES: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing an $82 million fine against an individual who allegedly made millions of illegal automated sales calls.

The commission is looking to levy the massive fine against Philip Roesel and his company Wilmington Insurance Quotes. According to the agency, Roesel made 21 million automated calls or "robocalls" attempting sell health insurance.

FCC commissioners quoted Roesel as saying "the dumber, the more broke, the better" in regard to whom he targeted with his robocalls.

Read more here.


DEMS WANT MORE TIME ON NET NEUTRALITY: Democratic senators are urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to extend the public comment period on its proposal to scrap the net neutrality rules.

Fifteen Democrats led by Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats protest Trump's immigration policy from Senate floor Dems press EPA nominees on ethics, climate Lawmakers prep for coming wave of self-driving cars MORE (Mass.) in a letter Thursday to Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai asked that he provide more time for comments, citing an unprecedented reponse.

"This volume of comments underscores the tremendous interest the public has in this proceeding," the senators wrote. "Given the unprecedented number of comments, we urge the FCC to extend the reply comment period to allow sufficient time for the public to ensure their views are reflected in the record."

Read more here.


START-UP VISAS: A coalition of 60 groups representing technology interests is pressing the Trump administration to change its tack on the international entrepreneur rule, which would have made it easier for foreigners to bring their businesses to the U.S.

In a letter organized and led by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), a trade association representing venture capital and startup interests in politics, the groups wrote that the rule is in line with the administration's positions.

"President Trump has made winning the global competition for jobs a priority of his administration and we appreciate his stated focus on making our country the best place in the world to create a new enterprise," the group of signatories wrote in a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acting Secretary Elaine Duke.

"The International Entrepreneur Rule will allow the world's best entrepreneurs to create jobs in our country, rather than overseas where they will then compete with American workers and companies," they continued.

Other signatories included trade associations like the Internet Association and TechNet, which represent the likes of Amazon and Google, as well as Engine, a startup advocacy group.

Read more here.



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