Gigi Sohn FCC Nomination Vote Scheduled

Gigi Sohn
(Image credit: C-SPAN)

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) has set March 3 for a vote in her committee on the nomination of Gigi Sohn for the open Democratic seat on the FCC.

Commerce has chief oversight of communications issues.

Sohn has had two nomination hearings but as yet no vote in the committee on whether to favorably report her to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.

Signaling that there would not be enough Democratic votes to secure a favorable report of her nomination to the full Senate, the scheduled February 2 vote on her nomination was pulled from that executive session.

The holdup was the stroke suffered by committee Democrat Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), who likely represents the deciding vote since Republicans are unlikely to vote for Sohn after pushing back on some of her positions on copyright and network neutrality.

Also scheduled for a vote out of committee March 3 is the nomination of Alvaro Bedoya to be commissioner of the FTC, which like the FCC is currently at a 2-2 political tie.

If Sohn is voted out of committee and confirmed by the full Senate, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel can proceed to tackle nonpartisan issues like broadcast regulation and re-imposing net neutrality rules on ISPs. 

There has been a report that Republicans on the committee could try to block the vote by failing to attend and denying the necessary quorum.

There has also been an ongoing threat by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) to put a hold on the nomination before it gets a full Senate vote. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.