New Street Research: Time is 'running out' for Gigi Sohn's FCC confirmation

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It’s been nearly a year since President Joe Biden named Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] as his pick to become the fifth member of the Federal Communications Commission, but the nominee’s prospects of actually being installed are as unclear as ever. A fresh report from The Deal tipped Sohn to squeak through the Senate confirmation process during a lame duck session in the coming months. But New Street Research analyst Blair Levin warned it’s extremely difficult to predict what will happen. There are two primary reasons the Biden administration might feel pressure to get Sohn appointed before then, the first related to politics and the second related to policy. On the political front, Levin noted the upcoming November 2022 election could flip control of the Senate to Republicans. "The practical reality I think is if the Republicans win the Senate, it is unlikely they will confirm any Democrat who will give the Democrats a working majority at the Commission,” he said. On the policy front, Levin noted time is of the essence if Democrats want to tackle priority issues like net neutrality and digital discrimination. “Any proceeding at the FCC takes really a minimum of six to nine months, and it’s better to do things earlier where political capital is higher,” he explained. While Sohn’s vote would give the FCC the votes needed to address those issues, “if you understand the administrative procedure and the length of time it takes to get certain things done, time is running out.”

NSR: Time is 'running out' for Sohn FCC confirmation