You may recall that at the beginning of this year, FERC Commissioner McNamee announced that he would not seek another term as a commissioner when his term ended on June 30, 2020. At today’s FERC Open Meeting, Commissioner McNamee announced that he will continue to serve for the foreseeable future. This is permitted by statute pursuant to which a Commissioner may stay past the end of his or her term until the appointment, confirmation, and swearing in of his or her successor, but no later than the end of the session of the Congress in which his or her term expires. As a result, Commissioner McNamee may stay until the current congressional session ends at the end of 2020 or early 2021.
While Commissioner McNamee’s continued service may keep the balance in favor of the Republican members through the current session of Congress, the upcoming presidential election presents the potential for change in both party leadership and majority at FERC. Importantly, the next Republican commission seat is slated to become available July 1, 2021 (after Chairman Chatterjee’s term expires on June 30, 2021). If the current Administration fails to nominate and confirm McNamee’s replacement before the end of this year and if the Democrats take control of the White House, that shift could result in a Democratic FERC majority in advance of the expiration of Chairman Chatterjee’s term. Chatterjee also has floated political aspirations and it is possible that he could look to leave the Commission before his term expires.
Please contact the authors of this update if you have any questions.