US launches fresh bid to appoint FCC Commissioner

Federal Communications Commission headquarters - Washington, DC USA

President Biden has nominated telco lawyer Anna Gomez for Commissioner of the US Federal Communications Commission in an effort to fill a role that has been vacant for over two years.

Gomez has plenty of experience with US government agencies. Since January she has served in the State Department as senior advisor for international information and communications policy at the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy. She has also served in the Commerce Department as deputy assistant secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). She has also worked various jobs at the FCC dating back as far as the Clinton administration.

“I thank President Biden for this honour,” Gomez said in a statement via LinkedIn. “I am humbled and grateful. If confirmed, I look forward to working with Chairwoman Rosenworcel and my fellow Commissioners to bring the benefits of modern communication to all.”

Nominating a veteran civil servant is highly unlikely to incite anywhere near the same degree of rancour as previous nominee Gigi Sohn, who was Biden’s first pick way back in October 2021.

Despite Sohn already having served in the FCC as counsellor to former chairman Tom Wheeler, her background in public advocacy and her comments on social media about Fox News served as fodder for a smear campaign, which included hit pieces in certain right-wing media outlets, and attack ads on Facebook.

The campaign achieved its objective. The Senate failed to confirm her appointment on multiple occasions, claiming her nomination was an attempt to politicise the FCC. It’s an unusual argument given that for decades the US telco watchdog has had a majority of Commissioners who represent whichever party is in power.

Biden re-nominated Sohn twice, but in March she asked the President to withdraw his nomination, citing the attacks on her character and her career. One of the final straws appears to have been a statement from Joe Manchin, democratic senator for West Virginia, in which he said he would vote against her confirmation.

With the appointment process descending into farce, the White House seems to be taking the easy way out by nominating Gomez, and the relief from at least one branch of the government is palpable.

“A fully staffed Federal Communications Commission is critical to deliver on President Biden’s promise to close the digital divide,” said a statement from Alan Davidson, the Commerce Department’s assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information, and NTIA administrator.

“Anna Gomez, who previously served in leadership at NTIA, has had a distinguished career and will bring a wealth of experience to the agency. I congratulate Anna on her nomination, and I hope Congress quickly confirms her,” he said.

FCC chairwoman Rosenworcel and her fellow FCC commissioners also issued their own glowing appraisals of Gomez’s nomination.

“I congratulate Anna Gomez on her nomination to serve as FCC Commissioner. She brings with her a wealth of telecommunications experience, a substantial record of public service, and a history of working to ensure the US stays on the cutting edge of keeping us all connected. I wish her all the best during the confirmation process,” Rosenworcel said.

“Anna is one of the nation’s preeminent communications policy experts, and her experience would bring a unique and valuable perspective to the agency,” added Commissioner Geoffrey Starks. Similar platitudes were forthcoming from Commissioners Nathan Simington and Brendan Carr.

It now falls on the US Congress to put this long, drawn out saga behind it.


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