Senate Confirms FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to New FCC Term

“I can think of no better pick to lead the FCC as it works to address a host of issues at the heart of our interconnected economy.”

October 2, 2017

 WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today, by a vote of 52 to 41, confirmed current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to a new five-year term beginning July 1, 2016. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation which voted August 2 to advance Pai’s nomination to the full Senate, spoke this evening in favor of Pai’s confirmation.

Chairman Thune’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the nomination of Ajit Pai:

“I rise today to voice my strong support for the nomination of Ajit Pai to a second, five-year term as a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Mr. Pai has served as a commissioner at the FCC since 2012, when he was first confirmed by voice vote in the Senate. He was designated as Chairman earlier this year. 

“A native of Kansas, Chairman Pai has focused on the expansion of rural broadband and acceleration of next-generation infrastructure deployment. In recent weeks, he has worked tirelessly to help ensure communications services are restored to the communities affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. 

“In just nine months since becoming Chairman, Mr. Pai has also made much-needed reforms to improve transparency at the FCC and to improve the agency’s processes. I am particularly heartened by Chairman Pai’s efforts to treat his fellow commissioners fairly by instituting the process of sharing documents with other commissioners before discussing them publicly. Additionally, under Chairman Pai’s leadership, the public is now able to view the text of all agenda items in advance of Commission meetings.

"With respect to the thorny issue of internet regulations, I am pleased that Chairman Pai has sought to hit the reset button on the 2015 Title II Order, because, as I have previously said, the FCC should do what is necessary to rebalance its regulatory posture under current law. At the same time, I continue to believe that the best way to provide long-term protections for the internet is for Congress to pass bipartisan legislation. Rather than prolonging the back-and-forth debate on this issue, I once again invite my colleagues to work with me to find a lasting legislative solution that will resolve the dispute over net neutrality once and for all.

“As for the nomination before us, I can think of no better pick to lead the FCC as it works to address a host of issues at the heart of our interconnected economy.

“As I noted at the outset, Chairman Pai has already made much-needed reforms to improve the processes at the FCC and empower his fellow commissioners. He has already shown a commitment to ensuring transparency and openness at the Commission that gives me great confidence in the direction he will lead the agency. Chairman Pai’s approach, I believe, will lead to more long-lasting and positive results at the FCC. That is why I believe the elevation of Ajit Pai to be the Chairman of the Commission is a much-needed breath of fresh air, and why I believe he should be confirmed promptly, without further delay. 

“I urge my colleagues to support his nomination.” 

Thune and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet, also took to the floor on September 28 urging Senate confirmation of Pai.