Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term

Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term
© Getty Images

President Trump on Tuesday nominated Jessica Rosenworcel to return to the Federal Communications Commission to fill an open seat for a Democrat.

A former commissioner, Rosenworcel served from 2012 to January 2017 as her term expired.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerHillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars Dem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage Former FBI official praises Barr for 'professional' press conference MORE (D-N.Y.) had pushed for her to serve another term, and former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity' Trump hits Romney for Mueller criticism Former Bush assistant: Mueller report makes Obama look 'just plain bad' MORE renominated her in the days before he left office. But President Trump withdrew her nomination in February.

Rosenworcel has been a strong supporter of the FCC's Obama-era net neutrality rules, which new Republican Chairman Ajit Pai is moving to roll back.

Trump's decision to tap Rosenworcel to serve another term was roundly praised by both Democrats and Republicans at the FCC, cable industry advocates and net neutrality supporters alike.

“Ms. Rosenworcel is a great pick for the FCC and I’m happy the Administration accepted our recommendation," Schumer said in a statement. "Once she is confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to working with her to prioritize consumer protections – including preserving net neutrality, expanding rural broadband and more."

The FCC currently has two GOP commissioners and one Democrat. Trump still need to nominate another Republican.

His latest move may signal that the president intends to put forth a Republican name soon in order to avoid throwing the FCC into a 2-2 partisan deadlock in the midst of its proceedings to undo net neutrality.

Administrations often put forth Republican and Democratic nominations in tandem to ease the confirmation process.

Rosenworcel and Pai were unanimously confirmed together by the Senate in 2012.

Prior to joining the commission, Rosenworcel was a veteran Democratic aide at the commission and in Congress. She worked on the staffs of former Sens. Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerWorld Health Day: It's time to fight preventable disease Lobbying World Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation MORE (D-W.Va.) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), and former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, whom she succeeded.

During her time at the commission, she promoted initiatives to deliver broadband access to low-income families to close the so-called homework gap — the difficulty students face when they don’t have internet access.

She was also a vocal backer of net neutrality, the 2015 rules that require internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally.

Those regulations have been under fire from conservatives for how they reclassified broadband providers as telecommunications services, which they worry opens the industry up to tougher regulation from the FCC.

The net neutrality rules are now in the process of being repealed, as Pai pushes through a proposal to get rid of the reclassification, the legal framework for imposing the net neutrality rules. The FCC is currently accepting public comment on the proposal.

Rosenworcel has also been willing to buck her own party. Last year, a proposal from Democratic FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to open up the market for cable and satellite set top boxes was stalled after Rosenworcel publicly expressed concerns about the plan.

Still, Democrats generally praised her renomination.

“Hallelujah, better late than never,” said Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonTrump administration renews interest in Florida offshore drilling: report Dem reps say they were denied access to immigrant detention center Ex-House Intel chair: Intel panel is wrong forum to investigate Trump's finances MORE (D-Fla.), the Senate Commerce committee’s ranking Democrat. “The Senate should now move quickly to confirm her and fulfil the promise that was made two years ago.”

This story was updated at 2:01 p.m.