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President Biden sets a new beginning to disregard FCC deadlock

May 23, 2023: President Joe Biden stated that telecom attorney Anna Gomez to the Federal Discussions Commission, his second to fill an empty seat on the five-member panel generally, leaving the agency in a 2-2 halt for his entire presidency thus far.

The nomination comes a couple of days following Biden’s previous nominee, Gigi Sohn, withdrew herself from consideration after a years-long argument for confirmation. Though she was initially nominated in October 2021, she is witnessing criticism from Republicans and some senators from her Democratic party.

The Senate Commerce Committee held multiple hearings with Sohn to assuage concerns, but it remained to be seen if she would have enough support to be approved.

The division amid Democrats and Republicans on the FCC has indicated that only actions that could gain the help of at least one Republican commissioner have been able to advance. That’s left more contentious issues, such as net neutrality, off the table, even after the Biden administration’s hope to get back the rules that would stop internet service providers from blocking or favouring certain content.

In July 2021, Biden issued an executive order encouraging the FCC to restore net impartiality rules, which he took responsibility for while vice president in the Obama Administration but were abolished under the Trump administration’s FCC chair.

According to the White House, Gomez is a senior international information and communications policy advisor in the State Department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy. She served as deputy administrator for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an arm of the Department of Commerce that administers broadband which funds and advises the president on telecom and policy issues.

Gomez has worked for the FCC in different positions over 12 years, the White House said. She’s also worked in the private sector, which includes as a partner at the law firm Wiley Rein before joining the State Department. Earlier in her career, serving as vice president for federal and state administration affairs for Sprint Nextel.

FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel stated that Gomez “brings a wealth of telecommunications experience, a record of public service, and a history to work to ensure the U.S. stays on the cutting edge of supporting us all connected.”

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