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 Biden to break that tie, posing problems for his policy objectives.

However, it is not yet clear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) intends to bring the nomination up for a floor vote given the limited legislative time left in the year.

President Trump 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 Ingraham to support it, to oppose the nomination.

Tags Donald Trump FCC Joe Biden Laura Ingraham Mitch McConnell Section 230

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