Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission's Republican chairman on Monday opposed a plan under consideration by the Trump White House to build a 5G mobile network, nationalizing what has long been the role of private wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon. "I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network," said Chairman Ajit Pai.

Why it matters: The FCC's reaction doesn't bode well for the proposal the Trump administration is considering, first reported by Axios on Sunday night, since it's one of the main government agencies when it comes to wireless issues.

The details:

  • "I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network. The main lesson to draw from the wireless sector’s development over the past three decades—including American leadership in 4G—is that the market, not government, is best positioned to drive innovation and investment," Pai said in a statement. "Any federal effort to construct a nationalized 5G network would be a costly and counterproductive distraction from the policies we need to help the United States win the 5G future.”
  • He was joined by another Republican FCC commissioner. “I’ve seen lead balloons tried in D.C. before but this is like a balloon made out of a Ford Pinto,” said Michael O’Rielly in a separate statement. “If accurate, the Axios story suggests options that may be under consideration by the Administration that are nonsensical and do not recognize the current marketplace.”
  • Brendan Carr, another Republican on the commission, said in a statement that any "suggestion that the federal government should build and operate a nationwide 5G network is a non-starter." Jessica Rosenworcel, one of the commission's two Democrats, also criticized the proposal in a tweet.
  • " A network built by the federal government, I fear, does not leverage the best approach needed for our nation to win the 5G race," said Mignon Clyburn, the other Democratic commissioner.
  • David Redl, the top Commerce Department official on spectrum issues, declined to comment when approached by reporters at a conference on Monday morning.

The statements follow skeptical comments from the wireless industry. "The government should pursue the free market policies that enabled the U.S. wireless industry to win the race to 4G," said Meredith Attwell Baker, the CEO of trade group CTIA.

Go deeper: The questions and concerns raised by nationalizing a portion of the 5G network

This story was updated to add Michael O’Rielly’s statement. A second update added David Redl’s reaction. A third update added references to statements from Brendan Carr and Jessica Rosenworcel. The post was updated a fourth time to reflect Mignon Clyburn's statement.

Go deeper

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1 p.m. the day after the article is transmitted.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.