The Democrats played chicken over the FCC this month, and now they’ve paid the price. By trying to undermine Donald Trump’s ability to shape the executive branch, they’ve cost themselves their own choice for an appointment, while doing nothing to block the President’s power.
It all goes back to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. He refused to come out and say “Hey yeah, I’m going to resign next month so Donald Trump can appoint my successor.” Instead he hung on, which made it suddenly more difficult for Barack Obama to reappoint fellow FCC Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel.
Without a promise to resign from Wheeler, the Rosenworcel seat became the only way Republicans could take over the body from the Democrats, as the voters insisted in November. So Republicans stepped up efforts to take down her nomination.
Realizing their efforts at brinksmanship were failing, Wheeler offered to resign, but at the last minute like that, it was too late.
Rosenworcel’s nomination has been defeated, and the FCC will go into 2017 with a 2-2 split until Donald Trump can appoint a replacement next year. He is expected to move the chairmanship from Tom Wheeler to (rockstar) Ajit Pai immediately upon taking office, though the 2-2 split will remain.
Once Republicans regain control of the FCC, they will have the ability to roll back the extensive new regulations pushed by the Wheeler FCC, including the so-called Net Neutrality rules.