Senate Reconfirms Net Neutrality Supporter Rosenworcel To FCC

The Senate on Tuesday voted 68-31 to reconfirm Federal Communications Commission Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, a longstanding proponent of net neutrality rules, to the agency for another five years.

Rosenworcel was first appointed to the FCC nine years ago and has served as acting FCC chair since January.

“It's the honor of my lifetime to lead the @FCC and serve as the first permanent female Chair,” she said Tuesday on Twitter.

“There's work to do to make sure modern communications reach everyone, everywhere. Now let's get to it,” she added.

During her tenure with the agency, she supported open internet rules, as well as as broadband privacy regulations.

In 2015, Rosenworcel voted in favor of the Obama-era net neutrality rules -- which prohibited broadband providers from blocking or throttling traffic, and from charging higher fees for prioritized delivery.



She has also urged the agency to redefine broadband as service with speeds of at least 100 Mbps -- up from the current benchmark of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream.

The agency is currently deadlocked with two Democrats and two Republicans, calling into question whether Rosenworcel will be able to accomplish any of her more ambitious goals, including restore net neutrality rules.

President Joe Biden's nominee to fill the fifth FCC slot, Gigi Sohn, is facing opposition from some Republicans -- partly because of a prior tweet that was critical of Fox News.

That tweet, from October of 2020, reads: “For all my concerns about #Facebook, I believe that Fox News has had the most negative impact on our democracy. It's state-sponsored propaganda, with few if any opposing viewpoints. Where's the hearing about that?”

The Wall Street Journal, which called attention to that tweet, suggested that Sohn would attempt to censor conservative media outlets.

But prominent conservatives -- including One America News Network President Charles Herring and Brad Blakeman (formerly a member ex-President George W. Bush's senior White House staff) -- are supporting Sohn's nomination.

“I know Gigi. I have worked with Gigi. And I have seen her fight for people's right to express themselves, even when she disagrees with them,” Blakeman wrote recently in Newsmax.

“Even when other liberals wanted to shut down conservative voices, Gigi stood up for free speech,” he added. “We will never agree on a lot of things, but Gigi Sohn will fight for my right -- and yours -- to be heard and to have access to the most important information and communications services.”

Herring added that Sohn “believes in the First Amendment and the advantages of a strong and open media for the benefit of our democracy.”

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