FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to Exit Commission After President-Elect Biden Takes Office

Ajit Pai, the Trump-appointed Republican chairman of the FCC, announced that he will leave the agency on Jan. 20, 2021, when president-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office.

Pai’s exit is expected — it’s customary for political appointed heads of agencies to step down with a changeover in presidential administrations. Beltway insiders have identified Jessica Rosenworcel, the senior Democrat on the commission, as one of the leading candidates to succeed Pai as chair of the FCC.

Among the biggest controversies at the FCC under Pai was the commission’s December 2017 vote along party lines to repeal net neutrality, the standard that barred internet service providers from creating “fast lanes” for certain content companies or blocking or throttling content. With Democrats taking control of the FCC, the agency’s net neutrality order is expected to be swiftly reinstated.

Pai was designated the FCC’s chairman by President Trump in January 2017. He had previously served as commissioner at the FCC, appointed by then President Barack Obama and confirmed unanimously by the Senate in May 2012. The son of immigrants from India, Pai grew up in Parsons, Kan., and currently resides in Arlington, Va.

In a statement, Pai said, “I am grateful to President Trump for giving me the opportunity to lead the agency in 2017, to President Obama for appointing me as a Commissioner in 2012, and to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and the Senate for twice confirming me. To be the first Asian-American to chair the FCC has been a particular privilege. As I often say: only in America.”

More to come.

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