The Senate Commerce Committee will examine Rosenworcel, the FCC chair who has been re-nominated for another five-year term as commissioner, and Bedoya, the nominee to replace the FTC’s lone Democratic seat, this morning. Their nominations would help break political connections at the agencies, which is a necessity for progressive policy goals including reinstating net neutrality laws and expanding oversight of internet corporations. “I believe it will be a really basic affair,” Mississippi’s Roger Wicker, the panel’s top Republican, told John. Rosenworcel, a former Senate staffer who has been a commissioner since 2012, has received bipartisan plaudits on Capitol Hill, despite the fact that some Republicans may vote against her.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told John that he sees “nothing scandalous that would jeopardize or delay her nomination in any manner.” At today’s session, Blumenthal intends to present FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler (a Connecticut native).
Rosenworcel has spoken privately with key senators before of today’s hearing. “She understands some of Alaska’s issues better than others,” Sen.
Rosenworcel will be quizzed on a wide range of topics related to telecommunications. Blumenthal stated that he would like to discuss robocalls. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) wants to learn more about broadband mapping and the various internet speed requirements the agency can set. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Michigan) planned to ask Rosenworcel on the 5.9 GHz auto safety airwaves, which were split up by the Trump-era FCC to include a chunk for Wi-Fi. Sen. Ron Johnson cautioned that “net neutrality is the real issue here” (R-Wis.). He, like many Republicans, opposes the Obama-era internet privacy protections, which were abolished in 2017.
Focusing on privacy: In his inquiry, Bedoya, a long-time privacy supporter, expressed worry that the FTC lacks the necessary manpower and resources to successfully implement its rules. “This is especially true when it comes to privacy enforcement,” he remarked, referring specifically to the well-funded digital behemoths.