On December 7, the Senate voted to confirm Jessica Rosenworcel as the permanent chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), making her the first woman to hold that title.
Rosenworcel faced a term expiration at the end of the year after serving on the commission since 2012. This confirmation avoids a Republican majority at the agency, but continues the extended deadlock without a fifth commissioner. In October 2021, President Biden also nominated Gigi Sohn, a former counselor to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, hoping to break the deadlock and establish a Democratic majority. However, she faces pushback from Republican senators and may not receive a full vote by the end of the year.
Rosenworcel and Sohn are both advocates for net neutrality rules, and with Rosenworcel’s confirmation, the Biden administration may finally address net neutrality. Rosenworcel also supports expanding broadband access to underserved communities to address the “digital divide.” In a tweet following the vote, Rosenworcel said, “it’s the honor of my lifetime to lead the FCC and serve as the first permanent female chair … There’s work to do to make sure modern communications reach everyone, everywhere. Now let’s get to it.”