Senate To Confirm Pai, Erickson

Today the Senate will confirm Ajit Pai for Chairman of the FCC and Judge Ralph Erickson for the Eighth Circuit Court.

WASHINGTON, D.C. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the nominee for Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai and the nominee for the Eight Circuit Court, Judge Ralph Erickson:

“The Senate is considering two qualified nominees today. One is the sitting Chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai. Chairman Pai has led a very fascinating life, one punctuated by hard work and success. It had its beginnings in Buffalo. It traced a line through Canada. It unfolded in the small town of Parsons, Kansas, where Chairman Pai grew up with his parents — first-generation immigrants from southern India.

“It was on to Harvard after that and then the University of Chicago for his law degree.Pai’s resume prior to his appointment as a member of the FCC is as varied as it is impressive. He clerked for a federal judge. He worked in the Justice Department’s Anti-trust and Legal Policy divisions. He gained practical experience in the private sector. He served here in the Senate as committee staff. He even won a Marshall fellowship. He also worked at several positions within the FCC itself.

“When President Obama nominated Pai to serve as an FCC Commissioner in 2011, the Senate confirmed him by voice vote. When the Senate considers his nomination again today, I hope Senators will come together to give him strong support one more time.

“After all, it’s no wonder why President Trump chose to elevate him to FCC Chairman earlier this year. He understands the communications industry from nearly every angle, considering his impressive resume. He understands the needs of rural communities in states like Kentucky, thanks to his own rural background. And his dedication to bringing more openness and accountability to an agency that is too-often known for secrecy is commendable. The same can be said of his advocacy for Americans’ First Amendment rights. I look forward to advancing and then confirming his nomination to a new term.

“Now, on one other nominee we’re considering today, District Judge Ralph Erickson, of North Dakota, is the nominee before us to fill a vacant seat on the Eighth Circuit. He’s clearly qualified. He deeply respects the rule of law. He was confirmed by the Senate to his district judgeship by voice vote. And he enjoys the support of both of his home-state senators, Republican Senator Hoeven and Democratic Senator Heitkamp.

“When his nomination came before the Judiciary Committee recently, every single member of that committee voted to approve him. Every single Republican. Every single Democrat. This includes the committee’s top Democrat, Senator Feinstein, and the Democratic leadership’s second-ranking officer, Senator Durbin.

“You’d think this nomination would be about as non-controversial as it gets. You’d be right. And yet, Democrats still chose to erect another pointless procedural hurdle before we can actually confirm him — and we’ll probably do so overwhelmingly, given that the Senate just voted 95 to 1 on this pointless cloture motion. Up until now, our friends across the aisle have thrown up one unnecessary procedural hurdle after the next on even the most uncontroversial of nominees.

“As I’ve noted before, the opposition they’ve shown to these nominees most of the time seems to have little to do with the nominees themselves, nor whether or not Democrats even support them — in many cases, our Democratic colleagues actually do support the nominees. Just as they do now. This has got to stop. It’s time to end these games. And it's time to confirm Judge Erickson – a dedicated jurist who is going to make a great addition to the Eighth Circuit.”

Related Issues: Nominations, FCC