The Senate Thursday voted 55-43 to confirm telecom attorney Anna Gomez to the Federal Communications Commission, breaking a political deadlock at the agency that has lasted the entirety of Joe Biden's presidency.
Gomez's confirmation means the five-members commission will have three Democrats and two Republicans, which is expected to leave Chair Jessica Rosenworcel poised to advance her more ambitious goals -- including restoring the Obama-era net neutrality rules.
Those rules, repealed during the Trump administration, prohibited broadband carriers from throttling or blocking traffic and from charging higher fees for prioritized delivery.
Gomez testified in May to the Senate Commerce Committee that she would “be supportive” of reclassifying broadband access as a “telecommunications” service -- which would be a first step toward restoring net neutrality regulations.
Internet services are “too important, too central to our lives and our economy, not to have effective oversight,” Gomez told the committee.
Immediately after her confirmation, Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), a long-time proponent of net neutrality, reiterated his call for the FCC to pass new regulations.
“I look forward to partnering with Chairwoman Rosenworcel, Commissioner Starks, and Ms. Gomez in our shared fight to undo the damage of the Trump-era FCC by restoring net neutrality protections and protecting consumers from another Republican assault on the free and open internet,” he stated.
The lawmaker added that he also plans to reintroduce net neutrality legislation.
Gomez's appointment also could enable Rosenworcel to take action regarding mobile privacy, which she has indicated is among her priorities.
In June, Rosenworcel announced the launch of a new privacy task force and said she had circulated an order fining T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon a combined $200 million over the alleged sale of customers' location data.
Biden nominated Gomez in May, after Gigi Sohn, his initial choice, withdrew from consideration due to opposition from Republicans as well as Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia.