Senate Confirms Jessica Rosenworcel as First Woman to Head FCC

The Senate voted 68-31 Tuesday on FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel’s nomination for a third five-year term at the agency, just weeks before she would have been required to leave. The official vote confirms her as the first woman to lead the agency. (Commissioner Mignon Clyburn held the role of Interim Chair from May 20-November 4, 2013, between Chairs Julius Genachowski and Tom Wheeler.)

“People across the country count on the FCC to support the connections they need for work, learning, healthcare, and access to the information we require to make decisions about our lives, our communities, and our country,” said Rosenworcel after the vote. “I look forward to working with the administration, my colleagues on the Commission and FCC staff, members of Congress, and the public to make the promise of modern communications a reality for everyone, everywhere.”  

Her GOP colleague, Commissioner Brendan Carr, said: “Under her leadership, the FCC has taken significant steps towards eliminating the digital divide, increasing support for telehealth services, and enhancing the security of America’s communications networks. I have enjoyed working with Chairwoman Rosenworcel over the past 12 months on a series of initiatives that have delivered results for the American people. I look forward to continuing this good work.”

The telecom industry praised Rosenworcel as well. NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association, has been pressing the Senate to confirm her since President Joe Biden nominated her to another term at the agency. “Throughout her tenure at the FCC, Chairwoman Rosenworcel has demonstrated sound leadership, a keen command of critical communications issues and a firm commitment to preserving and expanding the nation’s essential communications capabilities,” said NATE President/CEO Todd Schlekeway. He added the association has been pleased “with Rosenworcel’s engagement with industry leaders, and her continued support of NATE’s legislative and regulatory priorities,” such as updating broadband maps and closing the digital divide.

The Wireless Infrastructure Association lauded Rosenworcel’s service on the Commission. “Her well-deserved, bipartisan confirmation ensures that the FCC will remain in capable hands as we seek to bring connectivity to underserved Americans and win the race to 5G,” said WIA President/CEO Jonathan Adelstein. “We look forward to working closely with Chairwoman Rosenworcel on her priority of bringing ubiquitous connectivity so that all communities in the U.S. can participate fully in the economy and the U.S. can maintain its leadership in 5G and wireless innovation,” emphasized the former FCC Commissioner.

Rosenworcel’s successful Senate confirmation was expected after the upper chamber voted 64-27 on Monday evening to cut off debate on the nomination. However, while her confirmation will prevent the GOP from gaining an FCC majority in January, any controversial vote will still result in a 2-2 deadlock because the other Democratic FCC nominee, Gigi Sohn, has yet to receive Senate confirmation. That may slip into the New Year, according to Politico.

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief

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