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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 BidenDC residents jumped at opportunity to pay for meals for National Guardsmen Joe Biden might bring 'unity' – to the Middle East Biden shouldn't let defeating cancer take a backseat to COVID 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 McConnellBiden leans on Obama-era appointees on climate Kentucky Republican committee rejects resolution urging McConnell to condemn Trump impeachment Calls grow for 9/11-style panel to probe Capitol attack MORE (R-Ky.) intends to bring the nomination up for a floor vote given the limited legislative time left in the year.

President TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call 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 IngrahamFox News to revamp daytime programming, replace 7 pm news hour with opinion show Sacking the Capitol proves free speech is in trouble FBI: No evidence antifa involved in Capitol riot MORE to support it, to oppose the nomination.