Common Cause Calls on the Senate to Hold a Vote and Confirm Gigi Sohn as FCC Commissioner

Yesterday, Axios published an article detailing how the clock is running out for the Senate to confirm Gigi Sohn, President Biden’s nominee to be a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission. President Biden nominated Ms. Sohn over six months ago and the vacancy has been open for over a year, keeping the FCC deadlocked in a 2-2 split. A deadlocked FCC is unable to fully address broadband affordability or move forward on a host of other communications reforms vital to our democracy.

Statement of Michael Copps, Common Cause Special Advisor and Former FCC Commissioner 

“The clock is not just running out for Gigi Sohn to be confirmed but also for any chance to have a fully functional FCC during the Biden administration. Given the current time constraints, it would be incredibly difficult if not impossible for the White House to identify, vet, nominate, and for the senate to ultimately confirm another nominee if Ms. Sohn is not confirmed. If we want to break the deadlock and have an FCC that can fully address the communications needs of our households during this administration, it’s Ms. Sohn or bust.

“Big money opposition understands this dynamic and is running a smear campaign to stall Ms. Sohn’s confirmation. The ISP gatekeepers know that a functional FCC would hold them accountable for engaging in discriminatory and antitcompetitive practices. So they are doing everything they can to ensure the Trump FCC’s legacy of decision-making that puts profits over people remains in place. We can’t allow these corporate interests to subvert the public interest.

“The White House’s own initiatives on promoting broadband competition, making broadband affordable, restoring net neutrality, and advancing racial equity though the federal government are all in jeopardy if Ms. Sohn is not confirmed. Ms. Sohn’s confirmation is also critical for many proceedings at the FCC including updating our broadband maps, strengthening our broadband affordability programs, prohibiting digital discrimination, putting the breaks on runaway media and telecom consolidation, and promoting media diversity. Failing to confirm Ms. Sohn would not just result in lost opportunities for the White House and FCC to advance public interest agendas but would also negatively impact our everyday lives as robust and affordable connectivity has become crucial to participating in our democracy and society.

“There is no doubt that Gigi Sohn is well-qualified to be a commissioner at the FCC. She has spent her entire career fighting for the public interest, and will work to make sure consumers all across the country are represented.

“What needs to be done is simple – Senate Majority Leader Schumer must hold a vote. Senators must show where they stand on confirming this well-qualified candidate. We can no longer afford any delays in confirming Ms. Sohn and breaking the agency’s current deadlock. It is time for Senate leadership to meet the moment we’re in and do everything within their power to make sure Ms. Sohn receives a vote.”