An individual with knowledge of the nomination process said President Biden is expected to nominate Jessica Rosenworcel, the acting chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, to the permanent position this week, putting her on track to become the agency’s first female chairwoman, according to the source.
After being approved by the Senate, Ms. Rosenworcel would be in charge of an agency whose duties include making certain that millions of Americans have access to the internet. Competition among providers is encouraged by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which also scrutinises any mergers between telecommunications and broadcasting businesses and governs communications by radio and television as well as via wire, satellite, and cable.
As a result of the nomination, the Biden administration is demonstrating its commitment to restoring net neutrality rules, which promote competition in part by prohibiting internet service providers from blocking certain content, slowing its delivery, or allowing clients to pay more to have it delivered faster. The Federal Communications Commission enacted the guidelines under the Obama administration, but reversed course under the Trump administration.
According to a source familiar with the process, Mr. Biden was anticipated to announce Ms. Rosenworcel’s candidacy later on Tuesday afternoon or evening. The individual spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to disclose internal considerations at the company.
In recent weeks, the president has been under increasing pressure to replace two vacant positions at the Federal Communications Panel: the permanent head of the agency and the seat on the five-member commission that Ms. Rosenworcel relinquished when she was appointed interim chairperson.
Neither post can be filled unless they are approved by the Senate, which has been beset by delays and political gamesmanship. The Republicans might obtain a de facto majority on the commission if Ms. Rosenworcel and the next member of the commission are not approved by the end of this year. The panel is now tied, with two Democrats and two Republicans voting in favour of the same proposal.
As Ernesto Falcon, senior legislative counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a public-interest law firm focused on digital civil liberties, put it: “There is no historical precedent, and there is a lot of consumer frustration that we haven’t had an agency that can do anything about something as important to people’s lives as broadband access.” The organisation has urged the Federal Communications Commission to work more quickly on providing access to marginalised populations, a goal that has taken on more importance as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
According to Mr. Falcon, “When you have wide-scale monopolisation on internet access and a marginalised agency, it is evident that the industry profits.”
Despite the fact that the F.C.C.’s actions directly affect companies that account for one-sixth of the United States economy, the agency has no authority over communications on social media, where widespread political misinformation has prompted the Federal Communications Commission to make the big platforms a regulatory priority.
During an interview, Ms. Rosenworcel was asked why she wanted to be the chair of the commission. She said, “It’s the future of our economy, and I believe we have to make sure that women are represented across the organisation, especially at the top.”
Ms. Rosenworcel, 50, waged a robust campaign for the permanent position, with female members of Congress, five labour unions, fourteen human rights organisations, and two dozen Senate Democrats all urging Vice President Biden to nominate her for the position. In a recent letter to the White House, 33 female members of Congress praised Ms. Rosenworcel, praising her for her years of experience as a Federal Communications Commission officer who “has talked candidly about how working moms can be policy leaders.”
She and her husband, Mark I. Bailen, a media lawyer at BakerHostetler, were married in 2000 and now reside in Washington, D.C., with their two children. Those in the city’s legal and information technology circles, which intersect, are well acquainted with them.
BakerHostetler assists clients who do business before the Federal Communications Commission. Nonetheless, the business maintains “an effective firewall” that prevents Mr. Bailen from participating in or discussing any work linked to the Federal Communications Commission, according to an email from Mr. Bailen.