Biden nominates telecom attorney Anna Gomez to FCC after more than two years of deadlock

President Joe Biden nominated telecom attorney Anna Gomez to the Federal Communications Commission, his second try to fill an empty seat on the usually five-member panel that has left the company in a 2-2 deadlock for his total presidency up to now.

The nomination comes a pair of months after Biden’s earlier nominee, Gigi Sohn, withdrew herself from consideration, following a years-long battle for affirmation. Though she was first nominated in October 2021, she confronted criticism from Republicans and a few senators from her personal Democratic occasion.

The Senate Commerce Committee held a number of hearings with Sohn in an effort to assuage issues, however it remained unclear if she would have sufficient help to be confirmed.

The 2-2 cut up between Democrats and Republicans on the FCC has meant that solely actions that would acquire the help of at the very least one Republican commissioner have been ready to transfer ahead. That’s left more contentious points like internet neutrality off the desk, despite the Biden administration’s hope to restore the foundations that may prohibit web service suppliers from blocking or favoring sure content material.

In July 2021, Biden issued an executive order that inspired the FCC to restore internet neutrality guidelines, which took maintain whereas he was vice chairman within the Obama administration however have been repealed under the Trump administration’s FCC chair.

Gomez is a senior advisor for worldwide info and communications coverage within the State Department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, in accordance to the White House. She beforehand served as deputy administrator for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an arm of the Department of Commerce that administers broadband funding and advises the president on telecom and data coverage points.

Gomez has beforehand labored for the FCC in a number of positions over 12 years, the White House mentioned. She’s additionally labored within the personal sector, together with as a companion on the regulation agency Wiley Rein prior to becoming a member of the State Department in 2023. Earlier in her profession, she served as vice chairman for federal and state authorities affairs for Sprint Nextel.

FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel mentioned in a press release that Gomez “brings together with her a wealth of telecommunications expertise, a considerable report of public service, and a historical past of working to make sure the U.S. stays on the innovative of holding us all linked.”

Gomez’s nomination additionally acquired reward from the telecom trade.

Tom Reid, chief authorized officer of Comcast, which owns CNBC dad or mum firm NBCUniversal, mentioned in a press release that Gomez’s “deep data throughout the breadth of points earlier than the FCC makes her exceptionally certified to be a Commissioner.”

Jonathan Spalter, president and CEO of USTelecom, a commerce group that represents broadband suppliers like AT&T and Verizon, congratulated Gomez in a press release.

“I’ve come to know Anna over the years in her roles as an advocate in the private and non-private sectors, and if confirmed, I look ahead to working together with her and a full five-member FCC on our shared goal to join everybody in every single place to the ability and promise of broadband,” Spalter mentioned.

Free Press, a nonprofit advocacy group that helps internet neutrality, mentioned Gomez’s nomination was lengthy overdue.

“We’re now approaching two-and-a-half years with out a absolutely useful Federal Communications Commission,” Free Press Co-CEO Jessica J. González mentioned in a press release. “Never earlier than has the American public had to wait so lengthy for a commissioner’s seat to be stuffed. This mindless delay is harming thousands and thousands of folks, together with working households attempting to pay their rising month-to-month payments and Black, Indigenous, Latinx and rural communities that the largest telecom firms and broadcast conglomerates have lengthy uncared for.”

González known as Gomez “eminently certified” for the position and praised the nomination of a Latinx candidate to the place.

“In addition to her company expertise — which has typically entailed working for aggressive carriers as a substitute of incumbents — Gomez has a protracted monitor report of public service, together with high-ranking positions on the FCC and Commerce Department,” González mentioned.

Biden additionally re-nominated two present commissioners to the panel: Democrat Geoffrey Starks and Republican Brendan Carr. The company can’t have more than three commissioners from one occasion at a given time.

A Senate vote is required to verify the nominees.

Disclosure: Comcast owns CNBC dad or mum firm NBCUniversal.

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