By Adam R Jacobson
RBR + TVBR
In a surprising turn of events, President Barack Obama late Wednesday (1/4) reappointed outgoing Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to a second term on the Commission.
The move came one day after Rosenworcel departed the FCC — and after repeated attempts by Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate to refrain from a renomination meeting prior to the end of the last Congress.
Word of Obama’s move came via a late Wednesday news release from the FCC Office of Media Relations. In a brief statement, outgoing FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler applauded President Obama’s reappointment of Rosenworcel, and hoped that Congress “will act quickly to confirm her nomination.”
Should that happen, Rosenworcel will be unpacking boxes that were just shipped out of the Commission’s headquarters across from L’Enfant Plaza.
It would also reunite Rosenworcel with the only Democrat on the Commission set to remain in place once President-elect Donald Trump takes office: Mignon Clyburn.
But, Clyburn is presently set to serve on the Commission through August. This gives Rosenworcel a little more clout in working with Republican Commissioners Ajit Pai — largely believed to become interim Chairman of the FCC come Inauguration Day — and Michael O’Rielly.
A 2-2 FCC would also put the wheels in motion for the Trump administration to nominate a new Commissioner or new Chairman.
Top ranking Democrats on Capitol Hill were quick to react to Obama’s move.
“This was the right thing to do,” Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, told The Hill. “Hopefully, Senate GOP leaders will finally live up to their promise to confirm her.”