After a closely-watched nomination, President Trump’s nominee to the FCC, Nathan Simington, was confirmed to the post by a 49-46 vote of the U.S. Senate.
Simington will now take up his role at the FCC alongside fellow Republican commissioners Brendan Carr, and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who recently announced plans to step down at the end of January.
There are five commissioners on the FCC, including the chairman, two Republicans, and two Democrats. The two Democrats on the commission are Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks.
Simington was nominated to the FCC by President Trump after the nomination of former Republican commissioner Michael O’Rielly was pulled.
Simington’s nomination comes at a critical time for the FCC, as it grapples with questions of internet censorship. President Trump’s executive order on social media censorship called for the FCC — an independent agency — to be petitioned to consider rulemaking changes around Section 230, the law that allows tech platforms to censor their users with little legal blowback.
FCC Chairman Pai, a frequent critic of Big Tech censorship, publicly backed the proposed rulemaking change in October, but the chairman’s decision to step down in January now leaves its status in doubt.
It is possible that the FCC could forgo the traditional “notice and comment” period on the petition, as the body which drafted it, the National Telecommunication and Information Administration, already undertook its own notice and comment process. That said, there has been no indication from the FCC that such a move might happen.
The nomination of Simingon, relatively unknown in Washington DC until now, has alarmed many lobbyists and career bureaucrats in the swamp. In comments to reporters in September, lobbyists expressed concern that Simington’s nomination was “unusual” and that “we don’t know him.”
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. His 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.