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 John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants 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 Mason ReidImpeachment will reelect Trump Impeachment will reelect Trump Biden faces first crisis as front-runner 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.