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Radio News: Republicans continue to block Biden's FCC nomination

Apr 05, 2022 11:33 pm

Inside Radio reports that it is five months since President Joe Biden nominated Gigi Sohn for the fifth commissioners seat on the Federal Communications Commission. Republicans have blocked the nomination so far, with a Senate Commerce Committee vote last month tied 14-14. That leaves the FCC commissioners in a 2-2 deadlock, meaning little can be done in the radio regulator's office. Democrats need a motion to discharge from the Senate Majority Leader in order have a vote scheduled in the full body. Then all 50 Democrats would have to be present to get a 50-50 vote, which Vice-President Kamala Harris could break. But Democrats are more concerned about Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson then Sohn. Republicans oppose Sohn's position on broadband net neutrality (Sohn favors making sure Amazon and Google get the same bandwidth as someone's personal website, an even playing field for all). They also say her past work for the now-closed television streaming service Locast should disqualify her from becoming an FCC commissioner. Sohn has said she would recuse herself from matters involving retransmission consent or television broadcast copyright for the first three years of her term. “Why on Earth should we choose a commissioner who would have to recuse herself from participating in substantial parts of the FCC's work? How does it serve Americans to have an FCC Commissioner who can't fully do her job,” said Republican South Dakota Senator John Thune. “Surely, there are other qualified nominees who don't have Ms. Sohn's conflict of interest.” The Media and Democracy Project, a progressive lobbying group, says, “She represents a tie-breaking fifth vote at an FCC that must create a more just, equitable and diverse media system,” claiming media companies of “trying to undermine” her nomination to avoid regulation. Read more about this story at Inside Radio.