Congress late Monday approved Ajit Pai for a second term as chair of the Federal Communications Commission. The Senate voted 52-41 (with almost all “yea” votes coming from Republicans) to give Pai a new five-year term retroactive to July 1, 2017. Without the confirmation, Pai would have had to give up the chair at the end of 2017.
Pai is personable and smart, but his many critics–many of them Senate Democrats–believe he cares more about deregulating big internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast than he does about keeping the internet neutral and available to everyone. Count Oregon Democratic senator Ron Wyden as one of them:
I do not have confidence @AjitPaiFCC will stand up for consumers instead of kowtowing to Big Cable’s demands. I voted no on his confirmation.
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) October 2, 2017
“I am deeply grateful to the U.S. Senate for confirming my nomination to serve a second term at the FCC and to President Trump for submitting that nomination to the Senate,” Pai said in a statement.
In a chat I had with him this summer, the previous FCC chair, Tom Wheeler, dismantled the current FCC’s argument for abandoning net neutrality.