Ted Cruz on Biden’s FCC Pick: ‘Unsafe Place for a Partisan’

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz raised concerns about President Biden’s Federal Communications Commission choice. The Senate Commerce Committee decided on a party-line vote to advance the candidacy to a full Senate vote. 

Questionable Character

Cruz cautioned the committee, following the news that Gigi Sohn, Biden’s nominee for FCC Commissioner, had a history of lobbying for conservatives’ repression.

The senator warned putting her in the leadership of the FCC would be dangerous. “I have serious substantive reservations about this nominee,” Cruz stated. 

He cited a statement from retired North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who objected to Sohn’s earlier comments pushing against increasing internet access for rural Americans in support of government-run infrastructure in urban areas, a practice called “overbuilding.”

Cruz termed the letter “interesting” and hoped Senate Democrats would heed Heitkamp’s concerns. 

“My primary issue with Ms. Sohn is she has demonstrated a strong readiness to use government authority against political adversaries and use government authority to censor.”

“I believe the FCC is an especially dangerous location for a partisan prepared to attempt to silence people with whom she disagrees.”

Sohn has a history of criticizing Fox News and advocated for banning both Fox News and Sinclair Media in tweets.

During her confirmation process, she was questioned about these and other contentious tweets, but maintained they would not affect her actions as a policymaker. 

Hindrances and Protocols

“There was a time Democrats were willing to stand up for free expression,” Cruz said.

“It appears as though that time has passed. That, I believe, is regrettable. I hope at least some members of the Democratic caucus remain to cherish free speech and oppose the abuse of political authority.”

“I hope they oppose having a Republican on the FCC stifling Democrat voices under a subsequent Republican administration.”

Along with these problems, Cruz raised an important ethical question concerning Sohn. 

Cruz noted Sohn joined the board of directors of Locast, the now-defunct internet television streaming service, in March 2020, over a year after the provider was sued for copyright violation.

Cruz stated Sohn was aware of this prior to joining the board and published a statement in support of Locast when the action was filed. 

The Senate Commerce Panel found a tie vote in the Senate on Sohn’s candidacy, subjecting her confirmation to further procedural hurdles before the entire Senate.

Republicans on the committee published a statement on Twitter, urging Democrats not to move the approval to the full Senate.

“To be clear, today’s vote does not move Gigi Sohn to the Senate floor,” Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS) tweeted.

Democrats now have to decide if they want to take the unusual step of skipping this committee and bringing such a divisive candidate to the floor of the Senate for a vote instead.