Senate Confirms FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, First Woman to Lead Agency, for New Term

The Senate voted to confirm Jessica Rosenworcel, chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission — the first woman to lead the agency on a permanent basis — to serve for another five-year term.

The Senate on Tuesday voted 68-31 to confirm Rosenworcel’s new term as commissioner, after she gained key Republican supporters in the chamber including Senate Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), ranking member of the Commerce Committee. President Biden in October officially named Rosenworcel, who had been acting FCC chair since January, to be the permanent head of the telecommunications agency.

“It is a tremendous honor to be confirmed and designated as the first permanent Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission,” Rosenworcel said in a statement. “I would like to thank President Biden for the opportunity.”

Rosenworcel continued,” 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. 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.”

Still pending Senate conformation is Biden’s nomination of Gigi Sohn, a former FCC staff member and a longtime advocate for open and affordable telecom services, to fill the fifth vacant commissioner seat — which would give Democrats a 3-2 majority. If confirmed, Sohn would be the first openly LGBTIQ+ commissioner in the FCC’s history.

Rosenworcel, who has served as an FCC commissioner since 2012, has worked to “promote greater opportunity, accessibility and affordability in our communications services in order to ensure that all Americans get a fair shot at 21st century success,” the White House said in announcing her appointment as agency chair this fall. While Rosenworcel is the first woman to serve as permanent chair, former FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn briefly served as acting chair in 2013 under President Obama.

Rosenworcel is a firm net neutrality supporter, a signal that the agency will move forward to restore the FCC’s Open Internet order that was revoked under the Trump administration. In addition, Rosenworcel during her tenure at the FCC has led efforts to expand broadband access to poor and rural communities and students, as well as fought to combat illegal robocalls and enhance consumer protections.

Prior to joining the FCC, Rosenworcel served as senior communications counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, under the leadership of Sens. John D. Rockefeller IV and Daniel Inouye. Before entering public service, she practiced communications law.

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