What Did The Senate GOP Do In Refusing Rosenworcel?


The final song on the most recent release from Adult Alternative act Guster, Evermotion, is titled “Farewell.”

Guster’s drummer is Brian Rosenworcel, brother of FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

Democrats across Capitol Hill may wish to dedicate this song to her, as inaction by Senate Republicans who wrapped up their business on Capitol Hill over the weekend has left the communications lawyer with no other choice but to pack up her office and vacate the Commission in January.

Rosenworcel’s pending exit opens the door to the end of net neutrality, which Trump’s trio of American Enterprise Institute FCC transition team members — led by Jeffrey Eisenach — seek.

Rosenworcel has been a fierce proponent of net neutrality, arguing, “We cannot have a two-tiered Internet with fast lanes that speed the traffic of the privileged and leave the rest of us lagging behind.”

She is also responsible for the “swing vote” that ultimately led the FCC to remove any consideration of Chairman Tom Wheeler’s controversial set-top box proposal, which Republican Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly have vociferously disapproved of for his lack of candor in not making public all details of his proposal.

While widely respected across both sides of Congress, reconfirming Rosenworcel could have set up a undesired scenario for the incoming Trump administration having a 3-2 Democratic majority, as Wheeler had the option of staying on as a Commissioner. In recent days, Wheeler said he would depart the FCC if that guaranteed a vote on Rosenworcel.

Now, Wheeler could stick around and serve out his term, which ends in 2018, joining Democrat Mignon Clyburn in the majority.

It is all but certain that Pai will become at the very least the interim FCC Chairman, and that the Trump administration will fill Rosenworcel’s seat with a Republican.

This sets the stage for massive regulatory reform, with the end of the 1975-penned media cross-ownership rules most likely one of the first things to be stricken from law.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) blamed the Senate’s failure to reconfirm Rosenworcel to the FCC not on Wheeler, who waited until the last minute to express his future plans, but on the Upper Body of Congress’ GOP leadership.

“Over the weekend, Senate Republicans turned their backs on consumers by failing to reconfirm FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel for a second term,” Pallone said. “Her integrity and advocacy has helped shape the Commission’s work over the past four years. Commissioner Rosenworcel has been a champion for hard-working Americans, including schoolchildren at risk of falling into the ‘homework gap.’  Her tireless efforts to protect consumers and lift up those in need exemplifies the type of first-rate public servant that Americans deserve.”

After exiting Drinker Biddle and Reath, Rosenworcel entered a career of public service and served as Senior Legal Counsel for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, starting in 2007.

She previously worked at the FCC as Senior Legal Advisor to ex-Commissioner Michael Copps.

Rosenworcel was nominated for a seat on the Commission by President Obama and on May 7, 2012 was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate. She was sworn into office on May 11, 2012.

RBR + TVBR OBSERVATION: New hashtag: #ThanksWheeler. Now, we are faced with a 3-2 Republican majority with an unpopular former FCC Chairman sticking around to support Ms. Clyburn, or a 4-1 GOP-dominant Commission in which Clyburn would have little influence. Couldn’t you have put your ego aside well before late last week in agreeing to step down to save the well-liked Rosenworcel’s job?