President Biden’s nomination delay could give Republicans an FCC majority
President Joe Biden's failure to nominate a fifth Federal Communications Commission member has forced Democrats to work with a 2-2 deadlock instead of the 3-2 majority the president's party typically enjoys at the FCC. Additionally, things could get worse for Democrats starting in January; if Biden doesn't make his choice quickly enough to get Senate confirmation by the end of 2021, Republicans could get a 2-1 FCC majority despite Democrats controlling both the White House and Senate. This is because acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel's term expired in mid-2020. However, US law allows commissioners on lapsed terms to stay until "the expiration of the session of Congress that begins after the expiration of the fixed term," which means Rosenworcel can stay until the beginning of January 2022. To ensure a 3-2 Democratic majority in January, Biden has to nominate a third Democrat, renominate Rosenworcel or nominate a replacement for Rosenworcel, and hope that the Senate confirms both nominations in time.
Biden’s baffling FCC delay could give Republicans a 2-1 FCC majority