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WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, POLITICO reported that the Senate Commerce Committee would call for a second hearing to consider Federal Communications Commission nominee Gigi Sohn. Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell made this decision even though Sohn already answered the committee’s questions during a previous hearing in December and in voluminous written responses since.

A committee vote to confirm Sohn had been scheduled for earlier in the day but was delayed following news of Sen. Ben Ray Luján’s health emergency, which prevented him from participating.

Hundreds of organizations from across the political spectrum have called for Sohn’s swift confirmation — including leading civil-rights, community-media, media-justice, workers-rights and consumer-advocacy groups along with companies, trade associations, and both municipal and rural development associations.

Free Press Action Vice President of Policy and General Counsel Matt Wood said:

“The only story here today ought to be Sen. Luján’s absence and his road to recovery. His health is the priority, but news of his absence from Congress creates an unavoidable delay because of the irrational partisan posturing in D.C. politics and in the Senate Commerce Committee.

“As a result, we have to deal with Senator Wicker’s disingenuous and blatant obstructionism over this crucial nomination. And with Senator Cantwell caving to unreasonable demands from opponents to Sohn, we’re going to see a hearing full of political posturing that serves no one except industry players eager to draw out the calendar and keep the FCC deadlocked.

“There is plenty of blame to go around for this situation, with the White House’s indecision and delays last year, and Senator Wicker’s continued opportunistic nonsense. It’s not yet clear whether Chairwoman Cantwell is participating in that obstruction or just wildly ineffective at countering it. But her failures to move ahead on this tremendously well-qualified nominee are outrageous. More than that, they’re undermining the goals that Cantwell says she cares about, including ending the digital divide, diversifying media ownership and supporting local journalism.”

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