April 24, 2024

On Tuesday, Gigi Sohn, one of President Biden’s nominees for the FCC, withdrew from consideration for the job, saying she faced “relentless, unrelenting criticism of my character and career as an advocate for the public interest. dishonest and brutal attack”.

Ms. Sun’s announcement came shortly after Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he would vote against her nomination, denying her a crucial vote in the deeply divided Senate. In a statement, Mr. Manchin said the committee “must move beyond the harmful partisanship that Americans are tired of, and Ms. Sohn has made it clear that she is not the one to do that.”

The FCC has been deadlocked for years — two Democrats and two Republicans. While the agency has approved some measures on a bipartisan basis, the divide has prevented the Biden administration from pursuing its more ambitious priorities, such as net neutrality rules for internet service providers.

Mr. Biden nominated Ms. Sohn to the committee in October 2021. Long a fixture on progressive technology policy in Washington, she pushed for consumer protections before serving as an aide to former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. At his side, Mr Wheeler pushed for sweeping net neutrality rules, which would stop internet providers from favoring certain content, and took steps to open up the market for TV set-top boxes.

But Ms. Sohn quickly ran into opposition from Republicans who accused her of being too left to serve on the committee, which oversees internet providers, broadcast stations and wireless carriers. Despite support from public interest and civil rights groups, among others, her nomination has not progressed. Mr. Biden nominated her again in January.

The Washington Post first reported Ms Sun’s decision to withdraw her nomination.

“It is a sad day for our country and our democracy when a dominant industry chooses regulators with the help of unlimited black money,” Ms Sohn said in the statement. “With the help of our friends in the Senate, powerful cable and media companies have done just that.”

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the top Republican on the Commerce Committee, hailed Ms. Sun’s exit, saying the FCC “is not the place for partisan radicals.”

“Now is the time for the Biden administration to nominate someone who can be confirmed by the full Senate and commit to serving as an impartial, truly independent regulator,” he said.

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