GOP Sen. Roger Wicker Has Not Scheduled Confirmation Hearing for Trump FCC Nominee Crucial to Taking on Big Tech

Roger Wicker
AP/Rogelio V. Solis

Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee, led by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), have still not moved forward on the nomination hearing of Nathan Simington, President Trump’s proposed new member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

As one of the three Republicans on the commission including the Chairman, Simington’s vote will be crucial in determining whether the FCC moves forward on tackling the issues of tech censorship and Section 230 reform.

President Trump has urged Sen. Wicker to move forward on a hearing, but the Commerce Committee, despite being controlled by Republicans, has still not announced a hearing.

“Republicans need to get smart and confirm Nate Simington to the FCC ASAP!” said the President earlier this week. “@SenatorWicker thank you!”

Despite the crucial nature of the appointment, Senator Wicker’s office would not tell Breitbart News if the Committee plans to hold a hearing on Simington’s nomination before the election.

A source close to Wicker’s office familiar with the process simply said that the vetting process is being performed “expeditiously” and that the Committee will “determine a hearing date in the near future.”

Republicans who are allies of Big Tech may be trying to slow-walk Simington’s nomination. If Biden somehow wins the coming election, he will likely withdraw Trump’s nomination in favor of a more swampish Republican who will not be hostile to Silicon Valley on the issue of censorship.

In a segment on his show tonight, Fox News host Tucker Carlson blasted Senate Republicans for delaying Simington’s nomination.

“You’d think Republicans would be awake and alert trying to accomplish all they can. Republicans still control the Senate, so you would imagine they would be busy confirming the President’s nominees while they’re still able to.”

“But they’re not. In some cases they are blocking conservatives from getting appointments, even now. Here’s one example: a month ago, the President nominated a man called Nathan Simington to serve on the FCC. If you’re worried about the unchallenged power of Big Tech – and you should be – you ought to support Simington’s appointment.”

“But Senate Republicans do not support it. They are sitting on his nomination. They are hoping instead they’ll be able to confirm the Joe Biden appointee next year. The President has complained about this, including on Twitter, but they’ve ignored it.”

“Remember that next time you hear Republicans in Washington pretend that they care about free speech, pretend that they’re going to do something about the shocking abuse of the tech monopolies. Right now they have a chance to help fix that problem, but they are refusing to do anything. Tells you a lot.”

Simington was nominated to the FCC to replace Obama-appointed Republican commissioner Michael O’Rielly, who expressed skepticism about a proposed rule change to Section 230 that would make it harder for Big Tech companies to censor political speech.

Despite this danger sign, Commerce Committee Republican Sen. John Thune (R-SD) has said the “simplest thing to do” would be for Trump to re-nominate O’Rielly.

Following coverage of these comments by Breitbart News, Sen. Thune clarified that he supports “moving forward as soon as possible” to confirm President Trump’s preferred nominee.

In contrast to O’Rielly, Simingon is said to be a hawk on tackling Silicon Valley bias, and his nomination has alarmed Big Tech’s lobbyists in the swamp.

As Breitbart News previously reported:

“There’s this informal rule that the nominees come from someone on the Hill — or at least it’s someone that somebody on the Hill wants to see there. That certainly appears not to be the case here,”  Scott Wallsten, president of the Technology Policy Institute, told Law360.

“It’s sort of not surprising to see that Trump wouldn’t follow the conventional approach because he doesn’t on anything.”

The Technology Policy Institute is funded by virtually every major Big Tech company — its list of donors includes Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft.

According to an insider who spoke to Law360, Simington is completely unknown to career bureaucrats, and that’s making D.C. swamp creatures nervous:

Simington is a little-known name within the NTIA, the U.S. Department of Commerce‘s spectrum regulatory body, and has only been in the role of senior adviser since June. Before moving to the government sector, he worked at mobile company Brightstar Corp. as senior counsel. A longtime industry observer told Law360 that when they received a text from a former colleague about Simington’s forthcoming nomination, they initially thought it was a joke. “I said, ‘We don’t know him, and we know everybody,’” the person told Law360.

The failure of Senate Republicans to move forward on Simington’s nomination has drawn the ire of conservative commentators on social media.

In a tweet, conservative writer Ryan Girdusky, co-author of They’re Not Listening: How The Elites Created the National Populist Revolution, urged opponents of Big Tech censorship to call Sen. Wicker’s office and ask him to stop “slow walking” Simington’s nomination.

“He could be the deciding vote to reform Section 230,” said Girdusky.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. His new book, #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election, which contains exclusive interviews with sources inside Google, Facebook, and other tech companies, is currently available for purchase.


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