TR Daily Trump Expected to Nominate NTIA Adviser as O’Rielly’s Replacement
Friday, August 7, 2020

Trump Expected to Nominate NTIA Adviser as O’Rielly’s Replacement

President Trump is expected to nominate National Telecommunications and Information Administration senior adviser Carolyn Roddy to fill the seat currently occupied by FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, whose renomination for another term was withdrawn this week by Mr. Trump, several sources told TR Daily today.

However, getting her nomination through the Senate before the end of the current session of Congress would be a tough task, noted sources who added that the situation would likely be made more difficult because of the support that Mr. O’Rielly has among Republican senators.

Commissioner O’Rielly’s second term expired on June 30, 2019. By statute, if he is not confirmed to another term, he is allowed to continue serving until the earlier of the end of the current legislative session or the confirmation of a successor.

Sources have said that Mr. Trump withdrew Mr. O’Rielly’s nomination because of comments that Mr. O’Rielly made concerning the section 230 Communications Decency Act executive order that White House officials saw as critical (TR Daily, Aug. 3). The remarks discussed the importance of the First Amendment.

Ms. Roddy started at NTIA in early June as a senior adviser in the office of the NTIA administrator, a position that is vacant. She works on broadband, spectrum, and international issues.

She also was a member of the Trump transition FCC team following the 2016 election (TR Daily, Jan. 12, 2017). Her background also includes working as an attorney at her own firm, Carolyn Tatum Roddy P.C., in the Atlanta area; director-regulatory affairs for the Satellite Industry Association; counsel for Troutman Sanders LLP; regulatory counsel in the Southeast for Sprint Corp. (now part of T-Mobile US, Inc.); an FCC attorney; and legislative director and chief aide to former Rep. Newt Gingrich (R., Ga.) before he was the House speaker. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a law degree from the University of Georgia.

Some sources said that they had not heard that Ms. Roddy would be nominated, with several saying speculation had touched on a number of possible candidates, including current Hill staffers or someone who works in the White House. But various observers agreed that it would be difficult to get any nomination through this year.

“There are so few legislative days left on the Senate’s calendar, even factoring in a lame-duck session, it would be very difficult to select a nominee, conduct the FBI background check, politically vet and then confirm the nominee by year’s end,” said former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell. “This is especially true because Senate GOP leaders want the president to re-nominate Mike.”

Another source said the nomination would be “highly unlikely” to move forward given the timing and the support among Senate Republicans for Mr. O’Rielly.

An industry source said that “the only chance they will have is to move her fast through committee and get her to the floor so they have time.” Ms. Roddy’s nomination would likely have to be paired with a Democratic nominee for some post or be part of an end-of-session package, the source added.

“I’d see little chance of a unanimous consent to approve her,” the source said. “Democrats will want to force a cloture vote and then yield no time but instead use the full 30 hours of post cloture debate to flog the 230 issue along with interference with an independent agency.” —Paul Kirby, [email protected]

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