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Trump renominates Ajit Pai for five more years at the FCC

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai speaks at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai speaks at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.
Chris Welch / The Verge

President Trump has nominated FCC chairman Ajit Pai for a second five-year term at the commission, according to Axios and Politico. Pai’s current term ended last June, though he’s been able to stick around through the end of the year even without reconfirmation.

While there’s nothing particularly surprising about this, it at least indicates that Trump is happy with Pai’s first month on the job. During that time, he’s made quick work on scaling back net neutrality — okaying zero-rating, halting privacy rules, and lifting transparency requirements. He’s also suggested pretty strongly that he’d like to see Title II reclassification be reversed.

“I am deeply honored to have been nominated by President Trump to serve a second term on the Federal Communications Commission,” Pai said in a statement. “If I am fortunate to be confirmed by the Senate, I will continue to work with my colleagues to connect all Americans with digital opportunity, foster innovation, protect consumers, promote public safety, and make the FCC more open and transparent to the American people.”

The nomination comes just days after Pai sat down with the president for a meeting, during which they’re said to have “reconnected” but without actually discussing anything the commission is actively considering.

Pai will need confirmation from the Senate for the nomination to be approved. He was first nominated in 2012 to fill the slot of a commissioner. With approval, he’ll be able to stick around through at least the entirety of Trump’s current term.

The question now is when Trump will nominate people to fill the two slots still vacant at the commission. The FCC remains short staffed, with only three out of five seated leaders, which somewhat limits how quickly Pai is able to get through his agenda.

Update March 7th, 5:04PM ET: This story has been updated with a statement from Pai.