FCC In The Dark: Rosenworcel On Partial Shutdown


As CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter notes, the partial shutdown of the Federal government has “entered its second month.”

This has resulted in a near-cessation of activities at the FCC, which ran out of funds earlier this month — after other government-funded services ceased operations in December.

How this has impacted the Commission was shared by Jessica Rosenworcel, the senior Democratic Commissioner at the agency.

A suspension of most activities has been seen since January 3.

As a result, Rosenworcel told Stelter, “The agency where I work has stopped responding to thousands of consumer complaints. It has stopped all merger review. It has stopped certifying new and innovative phones, computers, and televisions that emit radio frequency—especially critical as the U.S. prepares for the next generation of wireless service, known as 5G.”

She continues, “It has stopped its oversight of robocalls. It has failed to investigate new problems that have arisen during this shutdown, like the sale of our mobile phone location data to third parties, which was discovered last week, and is a security issue.”

Rosenworcel is technically the only Democratic commissioner at the FCC; Geoffrey Starks has not formally started his new duties, due to the shutdown.

Meanwhile, Chairman Ajit Pai and Republican Commissioners Brendan Carr and Mike O’Rielly declined CNN’s invitation to appear on Reliable Sources on Jan. 20.

The comments came after Rosenworcel on Jan. 15 took to Twitter to ask, “What if instead of shutting things we built things? What if we used these same billions to build broadband infrastructure in communities at risk of falling behind? How about a digital age reboot instead of a shutdown?”

With the Federal government officially closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, Rosenworcel took to Twitter to offer the following thoughts:

“At the 1963 March on Washington, spoke of the ‘fierce urgency of now.’ He reminded a divided nation that we are more powerful when we move forward together—and that it’s on all of us, right here, right now to make it happen. In 2019 those words still ring true.”