The Senate on Thursday moved towards confirming a 3rd Democratic commissioner to the FCC, giving the celebration a working majority on the fee virtually three years in to President Joe Biden’s presidential time period.
Anna Gomez, a telecommunications lawyer, was nominated by Biden final May. The Senate voted 55-43 to chop off debate and proceed to a remaining vote on her nomination, which can happen in a while Thursday.
The FCC has been deadlocked 2-2, one thing that has prevented the company from taking on extra contentious points like web neutrality guidelines, which had been rolled again through the Republican majority of President Donald Trump’s administration.
Biden’s earlier nominee for the FCC, Gigi Sohn, withdrew her nomination in March after greater than a yr of a contentious affirmation course of. Telecom lobbyists and darkish cash teams waged a marketing campaign in opposition to her, whereas commentators and editorial writers at Rupert Murdoch-owned media retailers, together with Fox News, the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, railed in opposition to her, in various instances distorting her document on points like free speech. Sohn has been a shopper advocate who previously has been at odds with Murdoch on points like media possession, whereas she has been a champion of a strong set of web neutrality guidelines. She served as counselor to Obama-era FCC chairman Tom Wheeler when the fee voted to reclassify broadband service, one thing that gave the company extra oversight over the best way that web suppliers managed the stream of visitors on their networks.
Gomez serves as a senior advisor for worldwide data and communications coverage within the State Department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy. She additionally served because the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Deputy Administrator from 2009 to 2013.
With her affirmation, Democrats can have a 3-2 majority on the fee. In addition to points like web neutrality, the company seemingly will give better scrutiny to proposed mergers. Even with the impasse, the FCC despatched Standard General’s proposed acquisition of Tegna to an administrative regulation decide, one thing that killed the deal.
The FCC’s more durable stance towards mergers displays comparable scrutiny on the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department. The regulatory setting has been a caveat to ongoing hypothesis of trade consolidation.