Senate Confirms Nathan Simington to Federal Communications Commission, Likely Deadlocking the FCC for the Foreseeable Future

On Tuesday the Senate voted to confirm Republican Nathan Simington, who will fill Commissioner Michael O’Rielly’s Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) seat. While the Republicans currently have a 3-2 majority at the Commission, with the departure of Commissioner O’Rielly and Chairman Pai on Inauguration Day, the recent confirmation will leave the FCC deadlocked at 2-2. Unless the Democrats take control of the Senate after the Georgia run-off elections, this FCC deadlock could remain for years. With no majority, a deadlocked FCC could slow future FCC actions, including auctions, merger approvals and changes to regulations.

President Trump nominated Simington after suddenly withdrawing the renomination of Commissioner O’Rielly. Simington comes to the Commission having most recently served as a Senior Advisor in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”). Simington will serve a five-year term which ends on June 30, 2024. There is no timeline yet for when Simington will be sworn in.

Please contact Dee Herman (dee@hermanwhiteaker.com), Greg Whiteaker (greg@hermanwhiteaker.com) or Hilary Rosenthal (hrosenthal@hermanwhiteaker.com) if you would like to discuss Simington’s potential role at the FCC or would generally like to discuss the future makeup of the FCC and strategies for navigating the re-shaped agency.