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WASHINGTON — June 4 will mark 500 days during the Biden administration without a full-strength, five-member Federal Communications Commission. The administration first nominated longtime public-interest advocate and former FCC adviser Gigi Sohn for the vacant position in October 2021, and the Senate Commerce Committee didn’t move her nomination forward until March 2022.    

Free Press Action Co-CEO Craig Aaron said:

"We’ve gone far too long without a fully functioning Federal Communications Commission. It’s time for the Senate to end this senseless delay and call for a vote on the nomination of Gigi Sohn to serve on the FCC. She’s an incredibly well-qualified candidate with a proven track record supported by civil-rights groups, competitive businesses, and public-interest organizations around the country and across the political spectrum. 

“Democratic leadership must not let a dishonest smear campaign orchestrated by industry operatives keep this highly qualified public-interest champion off the Commission. The White House and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer must reject these lies and fulfill their commitment by moving this final vote to the floor. 

“The ongoing delay at the FCC is undermining the administration’s ambitious agenda, and it’s rewarding the corporations trying to derail the president’s priorities. But it’s hurting everyday people the most.

“Not having a fully functional FCC prevents the agency from adopting policies that would ensure that broadband access is affordable, open and reliable for all. It prevents the agency from fulfilling its commitment to diverse and local media ownership at a time of runaway consolidation across the industry. The lack of a fully functioning Commission also means that consumers are subject to the whims of big corporations that care only about maximizing their profits. 

“In poll after poll, people in the United States say they want real Net Neutrality protections. Sohn is a strong advocate for open-internet safeguards. It's a disgrace that so many lawmakers in Washington have ignored the will of their constituents in favor of delaying progress on the nominee who is essential to restoring the FCC’s open-internet rules.

“Because Senate Democratic leadership has failed to demand clear commitments from its caucus and call a floor vote on Sohn, the agency tasked with ensuring the public’s ability to communicate remains unable to operate at full capacity. This is a profound liability in a time of multiple crises, when people rely on an internet connection to learn about job opportunities, seek our vital health information, and engage in civic affairs. Worse still, these leaders are risking leaving this vital role unfilled before the midterm elections. If they don’t act now, Sohn may never get confirmed.

“Gigi Sohn is a proven champion of the public interest, someone who gives weight to the concerns of everyone — not just rich and politically connected industry lobbyists. That’s why hundreds of organizations from every corner of the country — including leading civil-rights, community-media, media-justice, workers-rights and consumer-advocacy groups, along with companies, trade associations, and municipal and rural development associations — have lined up to support her. And that’s exactly why the industry is trying so many underhanded tactics to stop her.

“We’ve waited 500 days for a fully functional FCC. Majority Leader Schumer needs to stop letting cynical political maneuvers from obstructionist lawmakers and industry-aligned hacks further delay the crucial work of the FCC. It’s time to call this vote now — before it’s too late.”

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