Senate Republicans will protect the GOP majority at the FCC
Senate Republicans will soon have to approve two new members of the Federal Communications Commission — one Republican and one Democrat — and likely re-confirm the body's new chair to a second term. All of that may happen at once, Senate Commerce Committee chair John Thune told Axios in a Monday night conversation:
"I think you'd have to fill it out. I think that when this happens, in order to have a Republican majority over there, we'd probably have to get that other seat filled too. So I suspect if it's a package deal it'll probably be sort of three in the package."
What this means: This is a question of timing. New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai needs to be confirmed to a second term this year in order to stay in the job, but Republicans won't imperil the FCC majority by moving his re-nomination along with a Democrat. They will wait for a second Republican nominee and move all three as a group if they are going to address the nominations as a package.
The bigger picture: The Republican majority at the FCC is crucial to conservative plans to roll back the legacy of aggressive Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler.