President Joe Biden is close to making a final decision on his latest nomination to fill a vacancy at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the federal agency that regulates broadcast radio and television and other telecommunications services.
According to a report, Biden is strongly considering Anna Gomez to fill the vacancy left by former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who resigned in January 2021 shortly after the presidential election. Gomez is currently the deputy administrator at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a unit of the Department of Commerce that advises the president and his on telecom-related policy matters.
Gomez would be Biden’s second nomination to fill Pai’s FCC chair in the last two years. His first nominee, attorney Gigi Sohn, faced intense scrutiny from Congressional lawmakers on both sides of the aisle over some of her social media activity, which reflected controversial viewpoints on media and policy-related issues. Sohn withdrew from consideration in early March.
If Gomez were to be nominated, her confirmation process would likely be less-contentious than Sohn’s, and could generate favorable endorsements from key broadcast and telecom stakeholders. A spokesperson for the National Association of Broadcasters, one of the biggest public advocacy groups for commercial radio and television, declined to comment on Gomez’s potential nomination when reached by The Desk Thursday morning. The NAB previously said it had “serious concerns” about the nomination of Sohn based on her work with Locast, a streaming television service that shut down following a lawsuit by broadcast networks several years ago.
Gomez’s various achievements include overseeing the development and rollout of a coupon program that allowed Americans to receive free converter boxes during the transition from analog to digital broadcast television more than a decade ago. Her career also includes various roles at the FCC, including deputy chief of the agency’s international bureau and chief of what is now the FCC’s Wireline Bureau.
Gomez and the White House have not commented publicly on her possible FCC nomination. The nomination could be made as soon as this week, but Gomez would still have to wait several weeks for a Senate confirmation hearing because federal lawmakers are currently on break until June.
While Biden is said to be leaning strongly toward nominating Gomez, her name is not the only one being considered for the FCC position. Other potential candidates include NASA Chief of Staff Susie Perez Quinn, National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts Chairman Felix Sanchez and FCC Chief of Staff Narda Jones.