The Federal Communications Commission should soon be back to full strength, following President Donald Trump’s announcement to nominate Brendan Carr for the remaining open commissioner position.
Following Senate confirmation, the Republican lawyer would fill one of two open seats at the FCC — the other is expected to be filled by Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel, whom Trump nominated earlier this month — and solidify a 3-2 Republican majority on the commission.
A Republican majority will give FCC Chairman Ajit Pai the edge he needs in determining how much support the agency gives to expanding broadband access around the country — a key issue for many school districts. While Pai has generally supported broadband expansion, he has rolled back provisions of certain programs aimed at helping bring broadband to rural and lower income regions.
Carr has worked closely with Pai in recent years and is expected to help Pai deregulate the telecommunications industry and unravel the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality decision.
Shortly after Trump’s announcement to nominate Carr late Wednesday, Pai released a statement congratulating his colleague and political ally.
“Brendan has a distinguished record of public service,” Pai said in the statement provided to EdScoop. “In particular, Brendan’s expertise on wireless policy and public safety will be a tremendous asset to the Commission. I look forward to working with him in his new role and wish him all the best during the confirmation process.”
Carr first joined the FCC as an attorney adviser in 2012. Two years later, he became a top legal adviser for Pai, who was a commissioner at the time. Carr remained in that position until January, when Pai became chairman and asked him to serve as general counsel for the agency.
Prior to joining the FCC, Carr was a lawyer at Wiley Rein, where he worked with companies like AT&T and Verizon.
Trump announced his selection for the FCC’s open Democrat position about two weeks ago. Rosenworcel had served as a commissioner during the Obama administration, but her term expired before the new administration had time to re-nominate her.
The U.S. Senate must first hold confirmation hearings for Carr and Rosenworcel and then vote to approve them as commissioners before the pair can bring the FCC back to its full, five-member capacity.