Senate confirms Biden’s FTC nominee
The Senate voted along party lines Wednesday to confirm Alvaro Bedoya, President Biden’s nominee to fill the fifth seat on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), with Vice President Harris casting the tie-breaking 51st vote.
“With the FTC at full membership, this important agency will be empowered to drive full steam ahead in cracking down on bad actor companies who are using anticompetitive practices, inflation, and price manipulation to bilk consumers and drive up profits,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “[A]t a time when consumers need and want protection of their online data, we are confirming one of the most prominent experts in the country in Bedoya.”
Bedoya’s confirmation will break a 2-2 deadlock that has limited the FTC since the beginning of Biden’s term.
The votes to advance him through committee and then for confirmation in the Senate’s full chamber were delayed multiple times because of cases of COVID-19 that kept Democrats from having the votes needed to secure his appointment.
Bedoya is a Georgetown Law professor and the founding director of the school’s Center on Privacy and Technology. He also served as the first chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law.
Advocates are hopeful that his confirmation to the FTC will help the agency pursue its agenda investigating market concentration and add new expertise about how evolving technologies can be used to surveil and harm individuals, particularly communities of color.
Conservatives lawmakers and business groups alike opposed Bedoya’s nomination. Lawmaker opposition mainly focused on comments he previously made about conservative media.
Businesses organizations, especially those representing large companies, have been broadly opposed to the agenda of FTC chairwoman Lina Khan, a progressive who has committed to vigorously investigate potential antitrust violations by America’s tech giants.
“Today’s vote sends a clear message to businesses of all sizes: buckle up,” said Neil Bradley, executive vice president of the Chamber of Commerce.
“Chair Khan now has the potential third vote she needs to unleash greater uncertainty — the enemy of business growth and opportunity — on the economy,” he added.
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