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Senate committee advances FCC nominee on party-line vote 

Senate committee advances FCC nominee on party-line vote 
© Greg Nash

The Senate Commerce committee advanced Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nominee Nathan Simington on a party-line vote Wednesday.

The 14-12 approval for the Republican nominee tees up what is likely to be a hotly contested Senate vote.

If confirmed by the Senate, Simington’s presence on the commission would leave it at a 2-2 partisan deadlock when current chair Ajit Pai steps down on Jan. 20. Republicans could make it difficult for President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBaltimore police chief calls for more 'boots on the ground' to handle crime wave Biden to deliver remarks at Sen. John Warner's funeral Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump MORE to break that tie, posing problems for his policy objectives.

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However, it is not yet clear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate GOP blocks voting rights bill Schumer, McConnell spar as GOP prepares to block voting bill Trump has 'zero desire' to be Speaker, spokesman says MORE (R-Ky.) intends to bring the nomination up for a floor vote given the limited legislative time left in the year.

President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE nominated Simington, a senior adviser at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), after pulling the renomination of Republican Commissioner Mike O'Rielly in August.

The abrupt decision to withdraw O’Rielly came shortly after he expressed opposition to President Trump’s executive order targeting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives online platforms liability protection for content posted by third parties and allows them to do good faith content moderation.

Simington played a role in editing the petition that the NTIA had to send the FCC calling on the body to reinterpret Section 230 as a result of the order, he told senators during his confirmation hearing.

Democrats have zeroed in on his involvement in that petition, as well as reported attempts to get Fox News personality Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamMedia continues to lionize Anthony Fauci, despite his damning emails Fox Nation to stream primetime Fox News shows in full DeSantis says he'll pardon people who violate mask laws MORE to support it, to oppose the nomination.