Anna Gomez during a confirmation hearing for the FCC.
Source: U.S. Senate
The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Democrat Anna Gomez to the Federal Communications Commission, breaking the deadlock at the agency that has lasted the entirety of the Biden presidency. The vote in favor was 55-43.
Gomez’s confirmation comes after a protracted battle to confirm Biden’s initial pick for the commissioner seat, Gigi Sohn. As Senators remained split on her confirmation, the FCC was left in a 2-2 deadlock of Republican and Democratic commissioners, limiting its agenda to items that both sides could agree on.
With the arrival of Gomez, a telecom attorney who’s previously worked in several positions at the FCC and in the private sector, the agency has the opportunity to pursue actions without the support of the Republican commissioners. That could include a push to return to net neutrality rules, which seek to prevent internet service providers from slowing or blocking service for select websites, for which President Joe Biden has voiced his support. Still, the late confirmation and fast-approaching 2024 elections could complicate such efforts.
Though Sohn was first nominated in October 2021, she ultimately withdrew herself from consideration in March this year, as Republicans and some Democrats continued to oppose her. Sohn said that during that period, she’d been subject to “unrelenting, dishonest and cruel attacks” and said in a statement at the time, “It is a sad day for our country and our democracy when dominant industries, with assistance from unlimited dark money, get to choose their regulators.”
Disclosure: Comcast, an internet service provider, is also the owner of CNBC parent company NBCUniversal.
WATCH: Proposed policies around internet gatekeepers could increase competition, says ex-White House CTO