Biden’s FCC candidate Gigi Sohn withdraws, citing ‘cruel attacks’

Gigi Sohn testifies during the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee’s confirmation hearing, looking into her nomination for appointment as Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. , February 9, 2022.

Pete Marovich | Reuters

Gigi Sohn, who was chosen by President Biden as the telecom regulator for the Federal Communications Commission, said Tuesday that she will withdraw her nomination.

Sohn is the first nominations by Biden in October 2021, but her confirmation efforts have stalled due to stiff opposition from Republicans and some dissent from other Democrats. . After several hearings at the Senate Commerce Committee, it remains unclear whether Sohn will have enough votes for her nomination to pass through the entire Senate.

The FCC is stuck with just four commissioners, leaving one seat empty and making it nearly impossible for Biden to advance his internet agenda without bipartisan agreement. In particular, Sohn’s withdrawal is a blow to the administration’s efforts to renew net neutrality rules, which prevent broadband internet providers from treating online content unfairly. .

In a 16-month battle with cable and media lobbyists, Sohn said she was the subject of “relentless, dishonest and ruthless attacks” that have perpetrated “tremendous loss” to her family.

“It is a sad day for our country and our democracy as dominant industries, with the support of unlimited black money, get to choose their governing body,” Sohn said in a statement. declare. “And with the help of their friends in the Senate, powerful cable and media companies have done it.”

Biden appeared to have voted for Sohn earlier this year when he give up her for the position, after her previous selection lapsed with a change in Congress.

Republicans objected to Sohn’s confirmation, in part due to previous tweets critical of Fox News. But some Democrats also withdrew their support in part because of objections from a law enforcement group.

Sohn previously worked for former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler during the Obama administration, when the agency approved net neutrality rules aimed at preventing internet service providers from providing fast lanes to customers. certain websites or throttling services for other websites. The rules were fiercely opposed by ISPs at the time. Ajit Pai, president under former President Donald Trump, success abolish the rules.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration had no updates to share about the new candidate.

“We appreciate Gigi Sohn’s candidacy for this important role,” said Jean-Pierre. “She will bring tremendous wisdom and experience, which is why the president nominated her in the first place. We also appreciate her dedication to public service, talent and her years of work as one of the nation’s leading public advocates on behalf of American consumers and competition.”

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