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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

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.

White House says it expects federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House said in new guidance Friday that it expects millions of federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: Companies with federal contractors have been waiting for formal guidance from the White House before requiring those employees to get vaccinated, according to Reuters.