Sen. Thom Tillis Plans To Block Gigi Sohn Floor Vote

Sen. Thom Tillis
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) (Image credit: U.S. Senate)

Veteran fair-use advocate and former top Federal Communications Commission counselor Gigi Sohn has collected endorsements for the agency‘s open Democratic seat from various groups and legislators. But a single senator can block a full Senate vote on her confirmation and a single senator is still signaling that is what he will do if Sohn‘s nomination is favorably reported out of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Last month, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), ranking member of the Senate Intellectual Property Subcommittee, asked President Joe Biden to withdraw Sohn‘s nomination, saying he had many concerns, but copyright was chief among them. He threatened to put a hold on the nomination, which any senator can do.

Also: Gigi Sohn‘s FCC Nomination Could Face Hold Threats

Sohn has already had her nomination hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee, where she appeared to assuage some Republican concerns about her progressive views and tweets critical of Fox News Channel. But while others who shared the nomination hearing dais with her have gotten their committee votes, Sohn has not. The President had to resubmit Sohn's nomination after the Senate did not act on it last year.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the committee, wants to hold that hearing soon. A Cantwell spokesperson said the senator expected a vote on Sohn's nomination will happen by the end of the month.

But asked whether Tillis would follow through on his hold if the committee approves Sohn, a top Tillis staffer signaled he was ready to back up his threat. “[H]e will put a hold on her nomination when it reaches the floor,” the spokesperson said.

In recent days, Consumer Technology Association president Gary Shapiro, the CEO of NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, Shirley Bloomfield, and three former heads of the FCC's Homeland Security Bureau have publicly endorsed Sohn. ■

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.