Biden’s mysterious FCC delay could give Republicans a majority of 2-1 FCC

expansion / President Joe Biden executed as (LR) Transport Secretary Pete Butigeg, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Lina Khan, Health and Welfare Secretary Xavier Besera, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and National Economic Council Secretary Signing the Order Brian Deese and Deputy Federal Communications Commission Attorney General Jessica Rosenwarsel are looking at the White House in Washington, DC on July 9, 2021.

Democrats work on a 2-2 deadlock instead of the majority 3-2 that the president usually enjoys at the FCC, as President Joe Biden did not appoint a member of the fifth Federal Communications Commission. I was forced to do that. But things could get worse for the Democrats from January. If Biden did not make his choice fast enough to get Senate confirmation by the end of this year Republican Despite the Democratic Party controlling both the White House and the Senate, it could win a 2: 1 FCC majority.

If Biden and the Senate take action, that possibility can easily be avoided, but it’s closer to reality than everyone expected when Biden took office. The reason is that the term of office of Deputy FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenwessel expired in mid-2020. U.S. law Commissioners with expired terms may stay until “the expiration of a parliamentary session that begins after the expiration of a certain period of time.” That means she can stay until the beginning of January 2022.

To secure a majority of 3-2 Democrats in January, Biden must nominate a third Democrat, Rosenwessel, or a replacement for Rosenwessel, both in the Senate. Expect to confirm your nomination in time. As president, Biden can promote any member to chair, but the Senate decides whether to confirm each newly appointed member. This process usually takes several months or more.Tom Wheeler confirmed as FCC chair October 2013, 6 months after his nomination.

“If a Republican majority occurs …”

With three and a half months left this year, it would be surprising if the Republicans won a 2: 1 majority at the FCC. But it’s also surprising that Biden has been waiting for a long time for the Republican majority to become a realistic possibility. Biden’s promise Lower Internet prices, end hidden broadband charges, restore net neutrality rules, and accelerate the development of local government networks.

Chris Lewis, president and CEO of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, told Ars. “The rules for appointment and nomination are clear. Deputy Leader Rosen Warsel is almost out of time and no name has yet been proposed by the President. If a Republican majority occurs, it is the Biden administration and the Senate. Probably because he failed. Act in time. “

Despite Biden name Advocates who closely follow the FCC’s new Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission yesterday do not yet know when the FCC’s choices will be announced by the White House. Lewis today said the Commission’s observer “is still in the dark. I know there’s a lot of talk about how infrastructure packages work when Biden announces. That makes sense to me. But otherwise we don’t know, “he told Ars.

Biden took time to choose a permanent FCC leader “more than any president since Jimmy Carter in 1977.”The Washington Post recently I got it..But Carter announced his choice September 12 That year, so Biden took even longer now. Biden has also not chosen a permanent leader in the Department of Commerce’s State Department of Telecommunications Information, and the delay is “the longest since the Department of Commerce was founded in 1978,” the post wrote.

Potential Biden Pick was opposed in the Senate

Blair Levin has been following and involved in the development of the FCC for decades. He was Reed Hunt’s FCC Chief of Staff in the 1990s, an official who oversaw the development of the FCC’s national broadband program announced in 2010, and is now a senior researcher at the Brookings Institution and of New Street Research. I am a policy analyst. .. In July Levin wrote Potential nominations for longtime consumer advocates Giji Thorn “It made the situation darker than ever, well leading the Senator’s opposition that she was no longer at the top of the rankings,” Levin added, “Interim Chair Rosen Warsel continues to support the Senate with significant support. Having gained, but not being able to get a nomination after more than six months, suggests that there is opposition within the White House, but there is no clear best candidate to replace her. “

Levin told Ars that he had no definitive information about who Biden would choose and when to announce it. Like Lewis, he says Biden’s delay was so long that it allowed the Republicans to win a majority of the FCC in January. “Yes, Democrats never get the majority and may even be in the minority,” Levin told us.

Freepress Vice President of Policy and General Counsel Mattwood believes Biden is reducing it “more than everyone wants” but still likely the Democrats to avoid the worst-case scenario. Said that.Wood was the majority of the Republicans at the time in the Senate in December 2020. Track confirmation quickly Trump candidate Nathan Simington was confirmed almost three months after the then president to create the FCC’s 2-2 deadlock. Donald Trump has been nominated, This is not unusual, but after Biden won the election, the Republicans speeded up the process.

“Unfortunately it is [a 2-1 GOP majority is] Possible. “I don’t think it’s possible yet,” Wood told Ars today.

Biden and Senate leadership have not agreed

The candidate at the top of Biden’s list is unknown, and he seems to be waiting until he can agree with Senate Democratic leaders on the expected composition of the majority of 3-2 Democrats. Ideally, Biden nominates two Democrats at the same time, and the Senate pairs the nominations to quickly track their approval.

If Biden prioritizes nominations and decides to be accepted by the Senator by January’s inauguration, or by March, April, or May, the Democratic Party could already make up the majority of the FCC. September 2020 Articles by protocolTwo months before Biden defeated Trump in the election, he listed 14 candidates with experience in the FCC or telecommunications industry.

“There is a large list of Democrats with FCC experience, many of whom are of color and should be a factor in Biden if he is elected. Some insiders are white men. , The top slot of the FCC under the Biden administration, “he wrote in the article about a year ago. He said there was already a lot of speculation about Biden’s choice.

FCC takes back seat in Biden era

The deadlocked FCC has played a small role in the Biden administration. In contrast, the president continues to have sufficient staff on the Federal Trade Commission, Lina Khan’s Choice The FTC chair has promised to turn the agency into a more aggressive antitrust regulator. However, FTC is focused on Big Tech and needs to oversee competition in many industries. The FTC lacks FCC telecommunications expertise and does not spend as much time or resources on protecting broadband consumers as a full-staff FCC.

Even on broadband, the FCC has clearly lost some of its turmoil.On hold Infrastructure Investment and Employment Law, Biden’s result Bipartisan deal with Congress, Spend tens of billions of dollars in broadband deployments. However, the $ 42.45 billion of the law’s broadband fairness, access, and deployment program grants will be distributed by the National Telecommunications Information Management Authority, not the FCC.

This may be due to former FCC Chair Ajit Pai mismanagement of the $ 9 billion local broadband fund. Forced Rosen Warsel to “clean up” mistakes It will send money “to a well-serviced urban area with parking lots”. Levin recently said the turmoil in local funding created a feeling that Congress was “unreliable in the FCC.” Telecompetitor Articles..

“I missed a tremendous opportunity”

The FCC has some important things to do, such as distribution, even with a 2-2 deadlock. New emergency broadband subsidy The parliament was created in response to a pandemic. Controversial tasks such as net neutrality rules and various other regulations and restoration of consumer protection that were eliminated by the FCC in the Trump era require a majority of Democrats.

Biden Recently urged FCC Take action against misleading advertising prices and high cancellation fees in the broadband industry, ending exclusive deals between ISPs and landlords limiting tenant choices, generally benefiting Internet service providers rather than Internet users Overturn the pie-led FCC decision. However, Biden’s negligence is the main obstacle to the FCC’s achievement of the White House’s broadband goals. Biden may have faced Senate resistance behind the scenes, but he could choose to send a nomination to the Senate without any guarantee that they would be approved.

“If we couldn’t join the full committee this year, the Biden administration could have missed a big opportunity to completely eliminate the digital divide and reach its goal of protecting the open Internet,” said Lewis. “. “This task is time consuming, and oversight of the FCC from Congress in 2022 reelection mode, or FCC oversight with the new configuration in 2023, can confuse that important task.”

FCC cannot vote for controversial things remotely

Mr Wood said the FCC often votes on party lines on topics that are controversial only in Beltway, such as local government broadband networks. Supported by both Democratic and Republican voters Despite what Congressional Republicans are trying to do Prohibit public networks.. Similarly, Pai abolished the net neutrality rule with a 3 to 2 vote. Most Republican voters upheld regulation..

With a 2-2 deadlock in which both Republicans generally oppose democratic priorities, Wood says that even those policies are the majority of Americans. Biden’s mysterious FCC delay could give Republicans a majority of 2-1 FCC

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