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Senate confirmation returns FCC to full 5-seat force

The Senate voted Aug. 3 to confirm two nominees to the Federal Communications Commission, Republican Brendan Carr and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel.

In an Aug. 3 statement, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai congratulated both Carr and Rosenworcel on their confirmation. "As I know from working with each of them for years, they have distinguished records of public service and will be valuable assets to the FCC in the years to come. Their experience at the FCC makes them particularly well-suited to hit the ground running," he said.

Carr has been serving as the agency's general counsel. Prior to that, he spent three years as Pai's wireless, public safety and international legal adviser. Rosenworcel previously served as an FCC commissioner between 2012 and 2017. Although she had been nominated for another term under former President Barack Obama, the Senate did not confirm her prior to the deadline at the end of 2016, leading to her exit earlier this year. Her confirmation now returns her to the seat she previously filled.

Democrats had expressed concern around the fact that Carr's initial term as put forth by President Donald Trump would be unusually long. Carr was nominated to serve the remainder of the term of former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who left the commission earlier this year ahead of his term expiring June 30, 2018, as well as an additional five-year term that would begin July 1, 2018.

According to Morning Consult, the Senate only voted to confirm Carr to the first term, set to expire in 2018.

With Carr and Rosenworcel confirmed, the five-seat commission will be comprised of three Republicans and two Democrats.

Still outstanding before the Senate is the renomination of Pai. According to The Hill, Pai was not among the nominees confirmed by the Senate on Aug. 3, though the Senate is expected to vote for his reconfirmation soon.