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Senators lift hold on FCC commissioner

A pair of senators on Thursday lifted their respective holds on a Republican FCC commissioner up for renomination, paving the way for the Senate to confirm him before the holidays.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinMurkowski never told White House she would oppose Tanden On The Money: Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief | Relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority | Senate confirms Biden's picks for Commerce, top WH economist Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief MORE (D-W.V.) on Thursday lifted lifted his hold after the agency promised to prioritize rolling out funding for wireless broadband in rural areas.

Manchin announced the hold on FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr last week after the commission announced it would pause the funding program while it conducts an investigation into coverage data submitted by major wireless carriers.

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“This mobile broadband funding is critical and will bring us one step closer to bridging the digital divide in West Virginia,” Manchin said in a statement. “All Americans, no matter their area code, deserve to have access to high speed, reliable internet service, and I look forward to continuing to work with Chairman [Ajit] Pai and Commissioner Carr to make this a reality.”

Sen. Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Finger-pointing on Capitol riot; GOP balks at Biden relief plan Sanders votes against Biden USDA nominee Vilsack Senate confirms Vilsack as Agriculture secretary MORE (R-Alaska) also announced that he would be lifting a hold he had placed on Carr’s confirmation, over concerns about the FCC's work on rural healthcare.

“After receiving concrete commitments and timelines from Chairman Pai to get the Rural Health Care program back on track in Alaska, Senator Sullivan lifted his hold on Commissioner Carr last night,” the senator's office said in a statement.

The FCC announced earlier this month that it would be temporarily suspending the rollout of its Mobility Fund Phase II program while it investigates whether major wireless providers submitted false data on their coverage areas to the agency. The Mobility Fund Phase II program will provide $4.53 billion for expanding 4G LTE service to areas that currently lack it like rural communities.

Manchin said he was swayed when Pai told him in a letter that the investigation would be “thorough, yet expeditious” in order to resume the rollout.

Updated at 3:43 p.m.