President Joe Biden has tapped telecom lawyer Anna Gomez to fill a vacancy on the Federal Communications Commission, which has been politically deadlocked with two Republicans and two Democrats for more than two years.
Biden's original nominee for the spot, consumer advocate Gigi Sohn, withdrew from consideration in the face of opposition from Republicans as well as Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia.
Sohn, an outspoken proponent of net neutrality rules, told The Washington Post that she was subjected to “unrelenting, dishonest and cruel attacks” during her unsuccessful confirmation hearings.
“It is a sad day for our country and our democracy when dominant industries, with assistance from unlimited dark money, get to choose their regulators,” she stated in March. “And with the help of their friends in the Senate, the powerful cable and media companies have done just that.”
If the Senate had confirmed Sohn, she could have provided a tie-breaking vote that would have allowed FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel to move ahead with ambitious policy goals -- including the restoration of the Obama-era net neutrality rules, which prohibited broadband carriers from throttling or blocking traffic and from charging higher fees for prioritized delivery.
The Senate Commerce Committee held three confirmation hearings for Sohn, during which she faced hostile questions from Republicans about numerous issues, including her social media activity.
For instance, at a hearing in February, Senator J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) blasted Sohn over a tweet that described Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as an angry white man, and a retweet of a post describing former president Donald Trump as a “raggedy white supremacist president."
Gomez currently serves as senior advisor for International Information and Communications Policy in the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy.
She has also previously worked at both the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and the FCC.
Gomez also previously was a lobbyist for Sprint Nextel, and was a partner in the law firm Wiley LLP.