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Bottom line: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Monday announced plans to step down from the FCC on January 20, 2021, which is the same day that President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. While not unexpected, it's just another layer to what has already been a complex election season.
In a statement on the matter, Chairman Pai said 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,” Pai said
It’s not unusual for appointees to resign when a new administration comes into power. The same thing happened four years ago when Trump won the election; serving FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler stepped down at the end of the Obama administration. His position was eventually filled by Ajit Pai, a Republican member of the FCC.
Pai’s term will likely be remembered by his controversial move to repeal net neutrality which was put in place by the Wheeler administration.
The FCC hasn’t yet said who will replace Pai although some seem to think that existing commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel is a frontrunner for the nod.
Masthead credit: mark reinstein