Sen. Cantwell: Gigi Sohn Unlikely To Be Confirmed In Dec.

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, who heads the panel that overseas the FCC, said the nomination of Democrat Gigi Sohn to fill the key fifth seat on the commission faced an issue of timing when asked if the Senate would take up the nomination before the end of December. The FCC has been divided 2-2 between Democrats and Republicans since January 2021. “It’s all about the queue of are we doing legislation or are we doing nom(inations) and my sense is right now we’re trying to get the omnibus done,” Cantwell said.

Unions Call For Gigi Sohn Vote In Senate Lame-Duck Session

Various unions, communications and otherwise, are pushing Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Commerce Committee chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) to take whatever action necessary to use the lame-duck session of Congress to advance to a vote on the long-stalled nomination of Gigi Sohn for the vacant FCC seat.

NEWS ANALYSIS

With Democrats’ Senate Wins, Sohn Is Likely Headed To The FCC

Gigi Sohn may soon take a seat as FCC commissioner thanks to Democrats’ narrow victories in US midterm Senate races around the country, according to the financial analysts at New Street Research. If Sohn’s nomination is approved by the U.S. Senate in the coming months, Democrats would have a majority of seats at the five-member commission. That could pave the way for the FCC to reclassify Internet service providers (ISPs) as Title II carriers, a precursor to reinstating the net neutrality guidelines introduced under Democratic President Barack Obama but rejected under Republican President Donald Trump.

Senate Has Gone A Full Year Without Voting On Biden FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn

One year ago today, President Biden nominated Gigi Sohn to the empty spot on the FCC. Sohn, a longtime consumer advocate who worked for the Obama-era FCC, would have given Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel the tiebreaking vote needed to reverse Trump-era deregulation of the broadband industry, restore net neutrality rules, and pursue other rulemakings opposed by the commission’s Republicans. But Sohn is still waiting for the Senate to vote on her nomination. With Senate elections happening in two weeks, it’s not clear that a vote on Sohn will ever happen.

Supporters Of FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn Gang Up On Hill

Supporters of Gigi Sohn’s nomination to the FCC have gotten together on a letter to congressional leaders, clearly hoping that the weight of their collective call for action can move a needle that has been stuck for well over a year. In a letter dated Oct. 14, almost 250 groups, mostly public interest groups but also including Dish, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, INCOMPAS and the Rural Wireless Association, told Senate leaders from both parties that she should get a floor vote before Congress adjourns.

FCC Union Backs Gigi Sohn For FCC Seat

The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), which represents 800 FCC employees, has come out in support of the nomination of Gigi Sohn for the long-vacant fifth seat — and third Democrat — on the commission. In a letter to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, which failed to successfully report Sohn’s nomination to the full Senate for a vote, NTEU said it was concerned about the continued vacancy and that Sohn was a highly qualified nominee whose nomination should be moved out of committee for a floor vote.

COMMENTARY BY JAMES ERWIN

The FCC Is Working Just Fine Without Gigi Sohn

James Erwin: “With their razor-thin Senate majority at risk, Democrats want to notch a few last-minute accomplishments before the November midterms. They could mount a last-minute push to confirm the long-stalled nomination of Gigi Sohn to the FCC and try to claim that the current 2-2 partisan split produces gridlock and prevents the agency from doing its job. Such a claim would be utterly disingenuous; the FCC has operated with fewer than five commissioners for more than 25 percent of its existence. Nevertheless, it has had no trouble fulfilling its mission, and any fair examination of the FCC’s record since President Biden’s inauguration would demonstrate that the agency is perfectly capable of doing its job with four commissioners.”

Gigi Sohn’s Backers Dismiss Call For Different FCC Nominee

Supporters of FCC nominee Gigi Sohn are dismissing a call over the weekend by advocacy group ALLvanza for President Joe Biden to drop Sohn’s nomination in favor of a Hispanic candidate.

Biden May Scrap Sohn Choice For FCC

The Biden administration’s controversial choice of Gigi Sohn to fill an open seat on the FCC has been in Senate confirmation limbo for months.In recent weeks, at the urging of progressive advocates of Sohn, the White House has been discussing possibly pushing the vote until after the midterms, which might give the Dems cover to vote for her confirmation in a lame duck session. But amid that discussion, the White House is also reaching out to other candidates as part of an early-stage vetting process if the administration decides to pull the plug on Sohn, according to one person with direct knowledge of the matter.

COMMENTARY

Why All Democrats Should Stand Up For Gigi Sohn

Last month, the Biden administration passed a regrettable milestone: 500 days without seating a fully functional FCC. The president’s nominee to fill the fifth and final FCC commissioner’s spot, longtime public-interest advocate and former FCC adviser Gigi Sohn, has been in limbo awaiting Senate confirmation — leaving the agency without the vote it needs to break partisan deadlocks. The power to return the FCC to full strength rests with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, but so far he’s refused to use it.

Gigi Sohn’s FCC Prospects Fading Absent Senate Action ASAP

It’s not looking good for Gigi Sohn’s nomination to fill the third Democratic seat on the FCC, one that’s extremely long-vacant — for well over a year — and would give the Biden FCC the majority it needs to restore network-neutrality rules or do other things Republicans won’t sign off on. The legislative days are dwindling down to a precious few. There are only about four weeks left on the Senate legislative calendar before the August recess, after which lawmakers will be focused on getting themselves re-elected in the midterms.

Telecom Players Divided On Gigi Sohn’s FCC Prospects As August Recess Looms

FCC nominee Gigi Sohn has faced a mix of poor timing, bad luck and opposition from some lawmakers, making her confirmation at once more urgent but also less likely with each passing day.

Clock Is Running Out On Biden’s Stymied FCC Nominee

Congress hasn’t budged on President Biden’s pick for a key tie-breaking FCC seat as the clock ticks down on the chance for a vote. Why it matters: Without confirmation of Biden’s nominee, Gigi Sohn, the communications regulator will remain deadlocked — hobbling efforts to enact the administration’s agenda of expanding broadband access and promoting digital equity. If Sohn, a lawyer and co-founder of the tech and telecom advocacy group Public Knowledge, doesn’t win a vote before summer recess, Democrats could lose their chance to fill the seat should Republicans take control of Congress in November.

WSJ Takes Fresh Aim At Gigi Sohn

News Corp.’s Wall Street Journal editorial board this week continued its push to defeat the nomination of Gigi Sohn for the fifth Democratic seat on the FCC. The editorial board added the Fraternal Order of Police union’s opposition — which dates from March — to Sohn’ as the latest weapon in an ongoing campaign. The paper said the union stand appears to have put a trio of Democratic votes in doubt: Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Mark Kelly (Ariz.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (Nevada). If so, that would definitely be a blow to Sohn’s chances.

TVN FOCUS ON REGULATION

FCC Outlook: Until Sohn Is Confirmed, The Commission Is Stalled

The 2-2 Democrat-Republican deadlock at the agency means that many media issues are left hanging, including some important to the Biden administration and the TV industry, particularly net neutrality and media ownership.

CWA Launches Ad Campaign Backing Gigi Sohn

It appears that two can play at the game of six-figure ad campaigns targeted at FCC nominees — in this case, the nomination of Gigi Sohn to fill the vacant Democratic (majority) seat. A week after a group called The One Country Project (OCP) said it had launched a six-figure ad campaign meant to keep Sohn off the commission, the Communications Workers of America Monday (April 25) said it had launched a six-figure campaign to make sure she did get the seat.

FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn Gets Pushback From Some Former Hill Democrats

Some former Democratic members of Congress have joined what is increasingly a concerted effort to block the nomination of Gigi Sohn, President Joe Biden‘s nominee to the open Democratic seat on the FCC. A group called The One Country Project said it has launched a six-figure ad campaign meant to “ensure that the FCC prioritizes rural broadband expansion and communities,” but in the next sentence defines the campaign as “aimed at raising awareness that the Biden administration’s [FCC] nominee, Gigi Sohn, is the wrong choice for the FCC and rural America.”

NAB To FCC: Time To Wrap Up Ownership Rule Review

The FCC should conclude its long-overdue, congressionally mandated quadrennial review of whether its media ownership regulations are necessary in the public interest, NAB CEO Curtis LeGeyt told FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel earlier this month, according to an FCC filing. A politically tied FCC is unlikely to approve reregulation of broadcasters and so far there has been no movement on a Senate confirmation vote on Gigi Sohn, the Democratic nominee who would break that tie.

Industry Groups Urge Senate To Confirm Gigi Sohn To FCC

Fans in the association sphere called on the Senate to confirm Democratic nominee Gigi Sohn to fill the fifth seat on the FCC, which has been vacant for well over a year. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the associations acknowledged the Senate had a lot on its plate with “pressing national issues.” Nonetheless, they urged senators to end debate over Sohn’s nomination — a discharge vote is akin to a cloture vote, allowing for a final vote on a bill or nomination.

Dems Call For Seating Sohn At FCC

House Democrats made a point of noting the absence of a fifth FCC commissioner — specifically Democratic nominee Gigi Sohn — at the first FCC oversight hearing in the current Congress on Thursday. In his opening statement, Communications Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) said he hoped the Senate would soon confirm Sohn to that seat.

Democrats Seek To Break Stalemate On Biden FCC, FTC Nominees

Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee have so far blocked the nominations of Georgetown University law professor Alvaro Bedoya to the FTC and consumer advocate Gigi Sohn to the FCC, largely on grounds that they are too partisan. That left both commissions deadlocked with a 2-2 split between Democrats and Republicans, denying agency leaders the majorities they needed to advance the Biden administration’s priorities. In response, Senate Democratic leaders are preparing to use a parliamentary maneuver known as a discharge petition to allow a floor vote on both nominees, according to people familiar with the matter.

Senate Commerce Committee Sends Gigi Sohn FCC Nomination To Floor for Vote

A divided Senate Commerce Committee finally voted Thursday (March 3) along party lines to send Gigi Sohn‘s nomination to the FCC to the full Senate for a vote, a big step toward her ultimate confirmation. The vote was 14-14, which means the nominee can get a floor vote, but with no favorable or unfavorable recommendation.

Chamber Of Commerce Urges Senate To Block Sohn Nomination

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday told lawmakers that it opposes the nomination of longtime net-neutrality supporter Gigi Sohn to the FCC. “Ms. Sohn is one of the leading advocates for policies that amount to regulatory overreach in the broadband market,” Neil Bradley, EVP and chief policy officer at the business organization, said in a letter to leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee, which is slated to vote Thursday on Sohn’s nomination.

Gigi Sohn: Networks Signed Off On Locast Settlement

The broadcast networks on Feb. 11 signed off on Locast‘s $700,000 settlement of a court ruling that the now-shuttered streaming platform had violated copyright law by streaming TV stations over the internet without permission or payment. That is according to a copy of FCC nominee Gigi Sohn’s written answers to questions from Senate Commerce Committee Democrats following her second confirmation hearing in the committee. Sohn had been a board member of Locast.

Sohn FCC Nomination Faces Key Test This Week

More than two months after the Senate delayed a vote on Gigi Sohn’s nomination to the FCC, her name is included on a list of presidential appointments set to be voted on by the House Commerce Committee on Thursday (March 3). While Sohn could yet face another delay, the planned vote suggests Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) thinks she has the votes needed to send the nomination to the full Senate.

Gigi Sohn FCC Nomination Vote Scheduled

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

Sohn To Senate: I Will Be Fair, Unbiased, Impartial FCC Commissioner

FCC nominee Gigi Sohn faced a strongly divided Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday at the second hearing on her nomination to the agency‘s open seat as the pushback from Republicans on her nomination continued. Democrats spent their time having her back while Republicans fired away over various issues. Both sides conceded her extensive communications experience and her reputation as a brilliant and effective public interest advocate, but that is where the agreement basically ended.

COMMENTARY BY PRESTON PADDEN

Preston Padden To Commerce: Gigi Sohn Is Needed Voice On FCC

Says neither net neutrality nor copyright stands should be disqualifying.

Tech Advocates Criticize FCC Nomination Delays

President Biden’s FCC nominee Gigi Sohn will face questions from a Senate panel once again on Wednesday amid ongoing delays to her confirmation. Progressive tech advocates are growing increasingly frustrated by the delays, casting blame on the White House and Senate Democratic leadership for stalling and catering to Republicans who they say are raising disingenuous concerns.

Gigi Sohn’s Path To FCC Looks Even Rockier Amid New Hearing, Recusals

The drawn-out confirmation process for FCC nominee Gigi Sohn was further delayed last week by a medical emergency, and the more time that passes, the less likely confirmation seems. Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) is in recovery after having a stroke in Albuquerque, putting the Senate Commerce Committee’s efforts to advance Sohn in limbo. While Luján is expected to make a full recovery and be back to work in four to six weeks, in the interim, the Commerce Committee has decided to hold a second nomination hearing for Sohn on Feb. 9, focusing on Sohn’s recusals from any commission items relating to retransmission consent and TV broadcast copyright, as well as her involvement in now-defunct TV streaming service Locast, where Sohn served as a board member. Public interest advocates called the second hearing unusual, and policy experts noted that the lengthier timeline may leave moderate democrats more opportunity to reconsider their support for an embattled nominee.

Sohn Scheduled For Second FCC Nomination Hearing

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) has scheduled a second nomination hearing for Democratic FCC nominee Gigi Sohn. The hearing is slated for 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9. Ranking member Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), had suggested another hearing was needed.

Gigi Sohn’s Scheduled Commerce Committee Vote Gets Pulled

A confirmation vote scheduled in the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday for Gigi Sohn’s nomination as FCC commissioner was pulled Tuesday. In addition to the confirmation vote being pulled, a Senate aide also confirmed that a request from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) for an additional hearing into allegations of conflicts of interest against Sohn has been granted.

Preston Padden: ‘Wall Street Journal’ Declines Letter In Defense of Gigi Sohn

Preston Padden, a former top News Corp. executive, has tweeted his unhappiness with the News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal, in the latest twist in the ongoing drama of the Gigi Sohn FCC nomination saga.

Gigi Sohn Will Recuse From Retrans, Broadcast Copyright Issues

Democratic FCC nominee Gigi Sohn has promised that, if confirmed to the commission’s open seat, she will recuse herself from decisions where retransmission consent or TV broadcast copyright are material issues. That came in a letter to acting FCC General Counsel Michelle Ellison Thursday (Jan. 27).

Sohn Settles Streaming Case That Spurred GOP Senator’s Fight

Gigi Sohn’s FCC Nomination To Get Commerce Committee Vote

With the asterisked caveat that the items are “subject to change,” a vote on the nomination of Gigi Sohn to the open Democratic seat on the FCC has been set. The Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled an executive session for Wednesday, Feb. 2, and Sohn is among 14 nominations slotted to get a vote. Among the other nominees are Alvaro Bedoya for the open Democratic seat on the Federal Trade Commission and four members of the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Kathy Im, Thomas Rothman, Elizabeth Sembler and Laura Ross.

National Urban League Backs Gigi Sohn’s FCC Nomination

The civil rights group says her expertise is needed in the effort to close the digital divide and is urging the Senate Commerce Committee to favorably report the Democrat’s FCC nomination to the full Senate and to work actively for a vote in that body.

Sen. Cantwell Looks To ‘Firm Up’ Sohn FCC Confirmation Vote

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the powerful Senate Commerce Committee, is still looking to hold a confirmation vote for FCC nominee Gigi Sohn sometime soon. Sohn‘s nomination has gotten pushback from Republicans citing her support for Title II-based network neutrality rules and her support of fair-use carveouts from content copyright protections, and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) has said he would put a hold on her nomination before it got to a floor vote.

Broadcast Issue Haunts Sohn FCC Nomination

Gigi Sohn, President Biden’s pick to fill the remaining vacancy on the FCC, continues to have an uncertain fate. Democrats are pushing for a vote on her nomination, while Republicans would rather the Senate Commerce Committee hold another hearing to examine Sohn’s role in a now-closed TV streaming service. The committee’s top Republican, Sen. Roger Wicker (Miss.), wants to put more questions to Sohn about her role as a board member on the nonprofit that operated Locast. The streaming service distributed local TV station signals online until a judge last year ordered it be shut down for violating copyright law. The company paid $32 million to settle claims brought by broadcasters.

Opposition To Gigi Sohn‘s (Or Perhaps Any Dem‘s) FCC Confirmation Builds

The long knives appear to be out for the nomination of Gigi Sohn, the former head of Public Knowledge and one-time counselor to former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, to the open Democratic seat on the FCC. That FCC majority will be key to potential reregulation of the broadcast and broadband/cable industries that is expected under a Democratic administration.