Dems To Senate: We Want Rosenworcel Renew

Jessica Rosenworcel
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel

Top Senate Commerce Committee Democrats are so eager to bring the re-nomination of Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel up for a full Senate vote that Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey suggested it occur immediately.

“We can bring the Rosenworcel vote up this afternoon by unanimous consent on the Senate floor,” Markey suggested at the Sept. 15 FCC oversight hearing.

Markey was joined by Commerce Committee Ranking Member Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal in seeking a vote on Rosenworcel’s continued tenure.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler also took a moment to note the importance of Rosenworcel’s continued presence on the Commission, and how 2-2 tied votes without her presence could be seen in an interim period following her departure if the full Senate did not act on her status.

Republican Senators have been seeking a bit of clarity on when Wheeler’s exit may come. While he noted during yesterday’s hearing that he was presiding as Chairman over what could be his final Commerce Committee gathering, he has remained aloof.

This has led to the inaction on Rosenworcel’s re-nomination.

The freeze on Rosenworcel’s FCC tenure began to take shape in March, when Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. John Thune (R-S. Dakota) noted that at least one senator had put a hold on her re-nomination.

Thune did not reveal who the senators were, telling The Hill, “I don’t want to throw anybody under the bus.”

Rosenworcel’s tenure expired in June 2015.

Since then, a political chess game has unfolded, with a June 2016 escalation that saw Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) holding up legislation backed by Thune.

The fate of Rosenworcel remains cloudy despite the Commerce Committee’s December 2015 approval of her re-nomination, which came by voice vote.

Rosenworcel, a former communications counsel for the Committee, came to the FCC in May 2012. She awaits a second five-year term.