White House Nominates Two to FCC

Paired Republican, Democrat expected to clear Senate

If all goes well, the Federal Communications Commission will soon have two new commissioners. Late Monday, President Obama nominated Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, and Ajit Pai, a Republican, to fill open positions at the FCC. Both nominees are former FCC staffers.

The paired nomination fits the conventional wisdom in D.C. lately, which has been that Obama would nominate a Democrat and a Republican at the same time in order to smooth the Senate confirmation process. 

The Senate Commerce Committee is expected to schedule a hearing, chaired by Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who will get to question Rosenworcel, his senior communications counsel for the committee. Rosenworcel will replace outgoing FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, whom she worked for between 2003-2007. She also held several other legal positions with the FCC.

Ajit Pai was named to fill the Republican slot vacated earlier this year by Meredith Attwell Baker. Pai is currently a partner in the litigation department of Jenner & Block. He has also worked in the office of the general counsel at the FCC, where he held a number of positions including deputy general counsel, associate general counsel, and special advisor to the general counsel. He has also served as chief counsel to two Senate Judiciary subcommittees and served as associate general counsel at Verizon.