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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

  1. Net neutrality: New chairman Ajit Pai's criticism of a 2015 set of net neutrality protections is well known. But he hasn't yet made it clear how and when he plans to revisit those rules and the reclassification of broadband as a utility.
  2. Antitrust: In the past Pai has been opposed to merger reviews that stick companies with a broad set of conditions. He may not comment on any pending transactions (think AT&T-Time Warner) but Pai's views will matter to the fortunes of any major telecom deals in the coming years. Any comments he makes come against the backdrop of a president who has expressed fears about media consolidation — and pledge on the campaign trail to address the issue.
  3. Broadband deployment: Pai has said that closing the digital divide is going to be a priority of his chairmanship. He's already laid out policy prescriptions to expand internet access in rural and low-income areas, but could provide more detail about how this will translate into commission action. He also has not said anything yet about his plans for the Lifeline program, which provides phone and internet service to low-income people.

Why it matters: The FCC chair's agenda could have an impact on telecom giants and Silicon Valley startups alike, not to mention the millions of American consumers who use their services.

Where to watch: The FCC's open meeting can be streamed live here, with the press conference to follow.

Go deeper

4 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

4 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.