Trump nominates Pai for FCC extension

James Pearce
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President Trump has put forward FCC chairman Ajit Pai for five more years at the US regulator after his first term expired

President Donald Trump has nominated FCC chairman Ajit Pai for another five year stint at the on the US regulator’s board, according to reports.

Trump appointed Pai as the head of the Federal Communications Commission in January, replacing Obama-appointee Tom Wheeler who stepped down, but his term had officially ended on 1 July 2016.

FCC rules mean commissioners can continue to work for the regulator after their term ends, but they must receive a fresh nomination within a year, or step down.

Trump has now nominated Pai for another term, citing a Senate aide. His nomination will need to be approved by the Senate, but this appears to be a formality, given Trump’s strong backing of Pai.

“I am deeply honored to have been nominated by President Trump to serve a second term on the Federal Communications Commission," Pai said in a statement. 

"If I am fortunate to be confirmed by the Senate, I will continue to work with my colleagues to connect all Americans with digital opportunity, foster innovation, protect consumers, promote public safety, and make the FCC more open and transparent to the American people.”

Pai met with Trump earlier this week, according to a number of US reports, and is due to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee today (Wednesday 8 March).

The reports did not speculate on what Pai discussed with Trump, but the FCC chair is known as a staunch opponent of net neutrality laws introduced by predecessor Wheeler. He is widely expected to revamp these rules, which have faced strong opposition from US telcos.

The FCC board is currently short-staffed, with Trump able to appoint two more members, although one is designated for a Republican and the other must come from another party, according to FCC rules.