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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to Step Down on Inauguration Day


Ajit Pai
Ajit Pai

Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced Monday that he'll depart the agency on President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration day, January 20, ending his four-year run as Chairman. "It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve at the Federal Communications Commission, including as Chairman of the FCC over the past four years. 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," said Pai.

"To be the first Asian-American to chair the FCC has been a particular privilege. As I often say: only in America. I also deeply appreciate the chance to have worked alongside the FCC's talented staff. They are the agency's best assets, and they have performed heroically, especially during the pandemic. It's also been an honor to work with my fellow Commissioners to execute a strong and broad agenda," he added.

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel stated, "While we did not always agree on policy matters, I always valued our shared commitment to public service. Serving the American people is a tremendous honor and I wish him the best in the future."

Commissioner Mike O'Rielly said, "Congratulations to my friend and colleague, Ajit Pai, for his distinguished run as FCC Chairman. His Commission ushered in many policy advancements and made strides updating communications regulations, from restoring the Commission's successful light-touch regulatory framework for Internet service providers to modernizing media rules, opening up more spectrum bands for commercial use, and expanding broadband access to unserved Americans. I wish him all the best in the next stage of his career and thank him for his great service to our nation."

NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said, "Chairman Pai has been a champion of free and local broadcasting since he joined the FCC. His fair, thoughtful approach to regulation led to many common-sense reforms that were long overdue. Most notably, Chairman Pai modernized the Commission's media ownership rules, authorized and promoted the transition to the Next Gen TV transmission standard, helped revitalize the AM radio band and cleared out some significant regulatory underbrush that was no longer in the public interest.

"Apart from his many policy advances, Chairman Pai also demonstrated great leadership, creativity, a sense of humor and always had an open door. America's broadcasters thank Chairman Pai for his public service to the benefit of the millions of viewers and listeners who tune in to their local radio and TV stations every day."

Rosenworcel, the senior Democrat on the commission, is widely considered to be one of the leading candidates to succeed Pai in the powerful regulatory post. She has been vetted twice and would likely have a smooth path to confirmation, which would be a key consideration assuming the Senate remains in Republican hands, reported Variety.

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