The Senate on Thursday confirmed Anna Gomez to the Federal Communications Commission, filling the fifth and final seat that’s been vacant for nearly three years.
The addition of Gomez breaks the 2-2 tie of Democrat and Republican commissioners, with the FCC now with a Democrat majority. The agency has been hobbled throughout the Biden administration because of the deadlock, unable to enact any major initiatives beyond basic bipartisan programs like broadband access or work on robocalls. Her addition means the agency can tackle bigger objectives like bringing back net neutrality, although it’s unclear if there will be enough time with the 2024 elections just around the corner.
Gomez is Biden’s second nominee to this seat, after his original choice, Gigi Sohn, withdrew herself from consideration in March. Sohn faced huge opposition from Republicans, telecom lobbyists and dark money groups. Sohn is a longtime consumer advocate who is also a strong proponent of net neutrality rules.
Gomez faced far less opposition, although Sen. John Thune, a republican from South Dakota, issued a statement on Thursday opposing her nomination. The statement, however, is a moot point since Gomez received more than 50 votes needed to confirm her position, and had her share of Republican supporters.
Gomez, who is the first Latina to be a FCC commissioner in more than two decades, served as a policy advisor in the State Department and previously served as the deputy assistant secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel welcomed the new commissioner.
“Anna brings with her a wealth of telecommunications experience, a substantial record of public service, and a history of working to ensure the United States stays on the cutting edge of keeping us all connected,” she said in a statement. “Her international expertise will be a real asset to the agency. I look forward to working with her to advance the agency’s mission to ensure the benefits of modern communications reach everyone, everywhere and that the United States can continue to lead in the digital age.”
Rosenworcel was joined by others in the industry.
“We look forward to working with her as the FCC seeks to close the broadband availability and adoption gaps, and to ensure that our small and rural Member companies continue to operate in a regulatory environment that enables their enormous investment in reliable, robust broadband infrastructure to meet the needs of consumers,” the America’s Communications Association trade group said in a statement.