Manchin to vote against Biden’s nominee for FCC

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Tuesday he will not support Gigi Sohn’s nomination to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), complicating the chances of President Biden’s nominee getting confirmed. 

Sohn’s confirmation has been held up for more than two years amid partisan gridlock on the Senate Commerce Committee, leaving the FCC with a four-member board split down party lines. 

Gigi Sohn

Gigi Sohn, nominee for commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, answers questions during her nomination hearing in front of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Feb. 14. This is the third time Sohn’s nomination has come before the committee. (Greg Nash)

“Especially now, the FCC must remain above the toxic partisanship that Americans are sick and tired of, and Ms. Sohn has clearly shown she is not the person to do that. For those reasons, I cannot support her nomination to the FCC, and I urge the Biden Administration to put forth a nominee who can bring us together, not drive us apart,” Manchin said in a statement. 

Republicans have pushed back on Sohn’s nomination, and with the slim Democratic majority in the Senate Manchin’s opposition complicates Sohn’s potential to be confirmed but doesn’t outright squander her chances. If all other Democrats vote in favor of Sohn she can still be confirmed if the vice president breaks a potential tied Senate vote. 

Sohn is a lawyer with more than three decades of experience in technology privacy law. She also served as a top aide to former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. 

Democrats have touted her experience, but Republicans slammed her over accusations that she is too far to the left to serve in the position. 

Sohn appeared at her third nomination hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee last month, where the partisan bickering among senators was again on full display. 

Without a full FCC, the agency has been limited in advancing some portions of Democrats’ agenda. For example, the FCC has been barred from pushing forward action to reinstate Obama-era net neutrality laws. 

Tags FCC Gigi Sohn Gigi Sohn Joe Biden joe manchin Joe Manchin

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