Pai formally announces plans to leave FCC

Ajit PaiAjit PaiBiden revokes Trump-era order targeting shield for website operators Top Democrat: FCC actions are a 'potential setback' to autonomous vehicles Two telemarketers fined record 5M for robocalls MORE formally announced Monday that he will leave his position as chair of the Federal Communications Commission on Jan. 20.

Stepping down from the FCC when a new president is inaugurated is an agency tradition.

Pai, a Republican promoted to chairman by President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-DOJ official Rosenstein says he was not aware of subpoena targeting Democrats: report Ex-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' MORE, has had a tenure mired in controversy.


His most notable decision, the repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules that allowed the commission to go after service providers that discriminate against certain web traffic, is likely to be overturned shortly after Democrats have a 3-2 majority.

Other decisions, like overseeing the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, will be harder to reverse.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve at the Federal Communications Commission, including as Chairman of the FCC over the past four years,” Pai said in a statement.

He highlighted some of his other achievements in Monday’s statement, including “closing the digital divide” and designating 988 as the new number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenEx-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' News leaders deal with the post-Trump era MORE will now have the opportunity to either promote one of the two Democrats on the commission  Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks  or bring in a new chair from outside the FCC.

Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr, who still has several years left on his term, is unlikely to depart. The other seat is up in the air.


Trump withdrew Mike O’Rielly’s nomination to serve another term on the commission shortly after O’Rielly spoke up against the president’s executive order targeting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives internet companies immunity from lawsuits for content posted on their sites by third parties and allows them to make "good faith" efforts to moderate content.

The president's new nominee, Nathan Simington, testified before the Senate earlier this month. However, his appointment is not guaranteed, given his role in drafting a controversial petition to reinterpret Section 230 and new reports that he tried to get Fox News’s Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamMedia continues to lionize Anthony Fauci, despite his damning emails Fox Nation to stream primetime Fox News shows in full DeSantis says he'll pardon people who violate mask laws MORE to back it.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said during Simington’s hearing that he would block the nomination unless he agreed to recuse himself from Section 230 issues.

Updated at 11:36 a.m.