He’s been tapped to serve as the Majority Whip for the 116th Congress, precluding him from continuing in his role as Chairman of the Senate committee charged with oversight of the FCC.
But, that can’t stop Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) from having a lead role in this Senate rulemaking body — very much keeping him in control of the Commission’s day-to-day activities, once the partial federal government shutdown ends.
One day after Sen. Roger Wicker, a Republican Senator from Mississippi, was elected Chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, replacing Thune, the two legislators officially swapped spots.
Thune will now lead lead the committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet. The subcommittee, which Wicker led in the now-concluded 115th Congress, oversees matters relating to the technology and telecommunications industries, including 5G mobile broadband development and deployment.
It also oversees broadcast media regulatory policy as set forth by the FCC.
“As I pass the torch to a new chairman of the Commerce Committee, I am eager to continue working on all of the important issues we’ve advanced over the last four years, particularly those that have had a direct effect on South Dakota,” Thune said. “We made significant progress in helping to make 5G internet a reality during my chairmanship, something I will continue to push for in my new role as chairman of this important subcommittee. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate and with the administration and local leaders to continue to encourage 5G deployment, along with a better quality of rural broadband throughout South Dakota and across the nation.”
Wicker added, “Sen. Thune led the full committee for the past four years and has been active in bipartisan agreements on a number of issues under the subcommittee’s jurisdiction including spectrum policy and infrastructure siting. I look forward to continue working with him in his capacity of chairman of this important subcommittee.”
Thune served as chairman of the Commerce Committee from January 2015 through the first days of January 2019.
Senate Republican Conference rules preclude Thune from simultaneously serving as chairman of the committee and as Republican whip, the No. 2 position in Senate leadership.