The Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled an executive session for Aug. 2 to vote on the nominations of FCC chairman Ajit Pai and commissioner nominees Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr. Also up for a vote is the nomination of David Redl as head of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, the White House’s principal telecom policy advisor.
The FCC is currently down two members, so their seating would bring it to a full commission as it prepares to vote on rolling back Title II, review media ownership rules and vote on a new transmission standard for broadcasters.
The nominees have already had their nomination hearings, at which no major issues arose beyond the hammering of Pai by Democrats over network neutrality, so look for the vote to be in the affirmative.
That affirmative vote would be to favorably report their nominations to the full Senate, which must vote them as well. But often that process moves swiftly, particularly if the legislators are ready to head out for the August recess.
Also on the docket for the Aug. 2 executive session, at which a host of bills is scheduled to be marked up (amended and voted), is FCC process reform legislation in a bipartisan bill — from Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — requiring the Federal Communications Commission to “establish a methodology for the collection by the commission of information about commercial mobile service and commercial mobile data service.”
Better data collection about broadband availability in general is a priority for Congress and the FCC, particularly if billions in subsidy funds are allocated in a new Trump administration infrastructure bill.