Monday, March 27, 2017

Speculation Grows Over Trump FCC Picks

President Trump must fill two vacant seats on the Federal Communications Commission, an important decision that could set the tone for his administration's policies on tech companies.

The Hill reports the FCC faces a number of important issues on its docket, including boosting broadband in rural areas and scaling back Obama-era net neutrality rules, both priorities of Republican Chairman Ajit Pai.

The FCC currently has two Republicans, Pai and Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, and one Democrat, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.

For the two open spots, Trump must tap a Republican and a Dem.

FCC watchers believe the Democratic spot will likely be filled by former Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.  She has Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) backing. Typically, presidents defer to the recommendations of Senate leaders in picking commissioners from the other party.

For the Republican seat, Trump has not yet tipped his hand, but there is growing speculation over who could be on his shortlist. Here are some of the top names for the GOP seat:
  • Michelle Connolly -- a Duke professor who served as chief economist at the FCC under former Chairman Kevin Martin, a President George W. Bush appointee.
  • Roslyn Layton -- a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, and has been a vocal opponent of the net neutrality rules controversial Title II provisions, which brought internet providers under the FCC's regulation.
  • Patricia Paoletta -- has a lower profile than Connolly or Layton, but was mentioned by FCC watchers as a strong potential candidate. She is a lawyer at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis where she specializes in telecommunications, trade and technology policy.
  • Ben Moncrief -- Moncrief is currently vice president of government relations at C-Spire, a telecommunications company. He previously served as counsel to GOP Florida Sens. Mel Martinez and George LeMieux from 2008 to 2010, which some said could give him an edge.

No comments:

Post a Comment