The Federal Communications Commission, as newly constituted under the Trump administration, is moving much faster than expected to undo actions the agency implemented under former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, CommLawCenter reports.
With Commissioner Ajit Pai now in the Chairman’s seat, and with both Wheeler and Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, an Obama nominee, recently leaving the panel, the GOP gained an immediate majority at the FCC.
“More dramatic, however, has been the impact of the president’s designation of Commissioner Pai as the permanent chair of the agency rather than nomination of a new candidate for that slot,” the story reports. “That action eliminated the normal delay factor in obtaining Senate confirmation, enabling the FCC to move immediately to chart a new and durable agenda in a way that an agency led by a temporary chair (whose priorities may be cast aside upon the arrival of a permanent chair) just can’t.”
The report adds: “Contributing to the speed with which a new agenda is being implemented is the simple fact that Commissioner Pai, with his lengthy tenure at the FCC and knowledge of the issues currently pending before the agency, arrives at the Chairmanship uniquely prepared to move quickly on the tasks ahead.”
B&C notes that the commission late last week set aside recent decisions on political file complaints.
“On Friday, the FCC’s Media Bureau set aside its actions on political file complaints involving a host of TV stations, saying they were more appropriately handled at the bureau level,” B&C reports.
The report quotes acting bureau chief Michelle Carey saying: “The complaints will be returned to pending status and considered by the Commission.”
B&C adds: “Separately, in resolving complaints against a number of stations, the FCC took no enforcement action but provided clarification going forward about how political ads need to be disclosed, clarification that has been mooted for the moment.”
TVNewsCheck notes: “Pai has long maintained that the FCC under … Wheeler had overstepped its bounds, suggesting that he would steer the agency in a direction more favorable to big phone and cable companies. In a December speech, he said the FCC needed to take a ‘weed whacker’ to what he considered unnecessary regulations that hold back investment and innovation. Rules in jeopardy include ‘net neutrality,’ which bars internet service providers from favoring some websites and apps over others.”