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Biden nominates Anna Gomez to FCC, moving to break deadlock

President Biden on Monday nominated longtime telecommunications lawyer Anna Gomez to serve on the Federal Communications Fee, taking a step towards breaking the partisan impasse that for greater than two years has hamstrung the company’s capability to hold out Democratic agenda gadgets, similar to restoring internet neutrality guidelines.

Gomez, an FCC veteran serving as a communications coverage adviser on the State Division, is the newest nominee after Gigi Sohn, one other former company staffer who withdrew from consideration in March after a grueling 16-month battle over her decide. In an interview with The Washington Put up, Sohn attributed the defeat to a “concerted, coordinated marketing campaign” by the telecom trade to dam her nomination.

The five-seat fee has lacked a Democratic majority for everything of Biden’s time period, a historic delay that client advocates say has hindered its capability to maintain telecom giants similar to Verizon and AT&T in examine and halted efforts to revive extra stringent web rules. Senate Republicans criticized Sohn, a key determine within the Obama administration’s internet neutrality push, as a partisan who would drag the company too far left politically.

Christopher Lewis, president of the patron advocacy group Public Data, praised Biden’s nomination of Gomez and referred to as on lawmakers to swiftly transfer to interrupt the company’s present 2-2 partisan cut up.

“For a lot too lengthy, the Biden administration and Senate leaders have left us and not using a full, five-person FCC whereas vital points are in entrance of the company. … We urge the Senate to maneuver rapidly on her nomination as there may be a lot vital and urgent work earlier than the FCC that can require a full Fee to perform,” he mentioned in an announcement.

Biden first nominated Sohn, a Democrat, to function the company’s fifth commissioner in October 2021 and re-upped her nomination earlier this 12 months. However Sohn withdrew amid staunch opposition from Senate Republicans and a few Democrats similar to Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), who publicly got here out towards her in March.

Earlier than her stint on the State Division, Gomez served because the deputy administrator of the Nationwide Telecommunications and Data Administration, a key company throughout the Commerce Division that’s overseeing the rollout of billions of {dollars} in federal funding to increase web entry nationwide.

It stays to be seen whether or not Gomez, a former Senate staffer, will face the identical degree of opposition from Senate Republicans and conservative teams as Sohn, whom advocates had hailed as a champion for client rights.

Jonathan Spalter, president and CEO of the trade commerce affiliation USTelecom, mentioned in an announcement that “if confirmed, I sit up for working with [Gomez] and a full five-member FCC on our shared goal to attach everybody all over the place to the facility and promise of broadband.”

Comcast, which final Congress employed a lobbyist to work on FCC nominations, expressed assist for Gomez in an announcement Monday. Chief authorized officer Tom Reid mentioned her “deep data throughout the breadth of points earlier than the FCC makes her exceptionally certified to be a Commissioner.”

The remarks might sign a neater path to affirmation for Gomez than Sohn, who confronted a string of assaults over her insurance policies, previous social media exercise and sexual identification. Sohn would have been the FCC’s first brazenly homosexual commissioner.

Sohn accused “darkish cash” teams of resorting to “unrelenting, dishonest and merciless assaults” to tank her nomination and hold the company deadlocked indefinitely.

Gomez, if confirmed, can be the company’s first Latina commissioner in over twenty years, in keeping with the Nationwide Hispanic Media Coalition, which had referred to as on the Biden administration to select her or one other Latino nominee for the company. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus echoed the remarks in a letter to the White Home in March.

The White Home additionally mentioned Monday that it’s reissuing the nomination of two of the company’s present commissioners, Republican Brendan Carr and Democrat Geoffrey Starks. The company has continuously operated and not using a full roster of commissioners all through its historical past, at occasions limiting its capability to conduct enterprise.




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