Biden Renominates Sohn to Serve as 5th FCC Commissioner
The president’s choice to double down on Gigi Sohn’s appointment to the Federal Communications Commission comes after her previous nomination stalled in the Senate for over a year.
President Joe Biden renominated Gigi Sohn on Tuesday to serve on the Federal Communications Commission, renewing his support for a nominee whose confirmation to the federal agency has been stalled for more than a year.
Biden previously nominated Sohn—a public-interest advocate who served as a top aide to then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler during the Obama administration—to fill the commission’s vacant fifth seat in October 2021. Sohn’s Senate confirmation was held up, however, after she faced unanimous opposition from Republicans and wavering support from several Democrats over some of her policy stances and public statements.
The lack of a fifth commissioner has left the FCC deadlocked with two Democrats and two Republicans, largely undermining the agency’s ability to effectively address the Biden administration’s telecommunications priorities. Sohn’s confirmation would give Democrats a 3-2 majority at the FCC, enabling them to tackle key political issues, such as reinstating the net neutrality rules that the Republican-led FCC voted to repeal in 2017.
Sohn is a strong net neutrality advocate, and her confirmation to the agency would align with Biden’s presidential campaign pledge to reinstate the rules requiring that internet service providers treat all online traffic equally.
“Gigi is a knowledgeable nominee with a long record of commitment to the issues before the FCC, and I congratulate her on [her] nomination as a commissioner at the agency,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. “I look forward to the day we have a full complement of five commissioners.”
Democratic retention of the upper chamber following the 2022 midterm elections—along with Vice President Kamala Harris’s ability to offer a tie-breaking vote in favor of Democrats—gives Democrats the renewed opportunity to push through some of Biden’s new nominees and stalled appointments. In addition to renominating Sohn, Biden also re-upped the nominations of several other stalled picks, including his choices to lead the Federal Aviation Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.