The Senate late yesterday evening in a voice vote confirmed Geoffrey Starks as an FCC Commissioner to the open seat left by former Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and Commissioner Brendan Carr for a full five-year term.
Carr and Starks had been previously approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, and their swearing in is expected shortly.
Both will be paid during the FCC’s shutdown because their compensation is financed by a resource other than annual appropriations and their services are essential.
The vote came after holds from two Senators were removed on Dec. 20, 2018.
Senator Joe Manchin (D.-W.V.) and Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) lifted their holds on Commissioner Carr’s renomination, paving the way for the Senate to confirm Republican Carr and Democrat Starks.
“I congratulate Geoffrey on his Senate confirmation. He brings a wealth of experience and expertise, including having served most recently as Assistant Chief in the Enforcement Bureau. During his confirmation hearing, I was excited to hear him highlight the need to expand rural broadband and the power of telemedicine. I look forward to working with him and having a fellow Kansan on the Commission,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
“I also congratulate Brendan on his confirmation to a full term. Brendan has done tremendous work on a number of issues, including his leadership on wireless infrastructure modernization. He has also been a staunch advocate for rural broadband deployment, particularly for precision agriculture and advancements in telemedicine.”
The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) welcomed the confirmation of both men.
“NATE congratulates Geoffrey Starks and Brendan Carr on receiving affirmative confirmation and reconfirmation votes respectively,” stated Executive Director Todd Schlekeway.
“2019 is shaping up to be the year of 5G and NATE member companies will be in the spotlight deploying these next generation networks across the United States. With all of the critical issues related to 5G deployment, network resiliency, spectrum auctions, rural broadband, the accuracy of broadband coverage maps and public safety communications, it is critical that the FCC is back to its full complement of five Commissioners. NATE looks forward to collaborating in a bipartisan fashion with all five commissioners on the many policy and regulatory issues facing our dynamic industry,” Schlekeway said.
Carr has taken a strong interest in understanding the exacting disciplines required by the men and women who are tasked with building a successful 5G wireless infrastructure.
Wireless Infrastructure Association President and CEO Jonathan Adelstein, a former FCC Commissioner, congratulated Carr and Starks.
Adelstein said Carr “has a deep appreciation of the role wireless infrastructure plays in 5G deployment and is committed to maintaining America’s leadership in wireless investment and innovation.”
In applauding Starks’ confirmation, Adelstein said the former FCC enforcement executive has “demonstrated a deep understanding of wireless infrastructure issues. His experience and knowledge will be an asset as he begins his work at the FCC.”
It is not known how many Senators voted for each Commissioner since in a voice vote the names of the Senators and the tally of votes are not recorded.
The 115th Congress confirmed a flurry of federal nominees last night before concluding voting for this session
Not sure what took you so long, but I could not be happier to congratulate and welcome Geoffrey Starks as a colleague and Commissioner of the FCC. https://t.co/cl4893WU6m
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) January 3, 2019