President Donald Trump has nominated Republican Ajit Pai as his pick for Federal Communications Commission chairman in a move that looks set to threaten net neutrality.
Politico reports that Pai, already an FCC commissioner, met with Trump in New York on Monday. Pai has served in office since the beginning of Obama’s second term. He is noted for having voiced staunch opposition to the regulations and consumer safeguards set out by the FCC under Obama on almost every occasion, and he loudly criticized the extent of the organization’s authority.
Pai, an ex-Verizon lawyer, has already expressed his hopes for the dismantling of the progressive 2015 Open Internet Order put in place by the Democrats.
“I’m optimistic that last month’s election will prove to be an inflection point—and that during the Trump Administration, we will shift from playing defense at the FCC to going on offense,” he enthusiastically said in a December speech, employing Trump-style rhetoric with his promotion still unconfirmed.
“[We] need to remove outdated and unnecessary regulations,” he said. “… We need to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation, and job creation.”
Under Pai’s leadership the FCC would hold a Republican majority. At the moment, two of the five commissioners have stepped aside—former chairman Tom Wheeler and Jessica Rosenworcel.
Trump will now nominate replacement commissioners, giving his party the majority on the commission. It may not be long before Pai implements a rollback.