[Congressional Record Volume 169, Number 39 (Wednesday, March 1, 2023)]
[Pages S542-S543]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, in his State of the Union Address last 
month, the President expressed an encouraging desire for 
bipartisanship. But I said, at the time, that I hoped his words would 
be matched by his actions. After all, the President spoke about being a 
President for all Americans in his inaugural address. But his first 2 
years in office were not exactly distinguished by bipartisanship.
  So while I was encouraged by the President's words in his State of 
the Union Address, as I said, I am looking for them to be matched by 
his actions, and renominating a slew of extreme nominees, as the 
President has done so far this year, is no way to start.
  So far this year, the President has renominated at least 16 
individuals who were unable to get any bipartisan support in the last 
Congress. They include an individual with serious unanswered questions 
about his possible role in a movement to push out senior career 
officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in favor of Biden 
loyalists, multiple individuals aligned with Democrats' radical Green 
New Deal agenda, a nominee who has repeatedly embraced anti-police 
rhetoric, multiple abortion extremists, a leftist litigator who has 
called the U.S. Senate and the electoral college anti-democratic 
institutions and who has admitted that he is motivated by his hatred of 
conservatives, and the list goes on.
  And then, of course, there is the nominee who recently appeared in 
front of the Senate Commerce Committee for the third time: Gigi Sohn. 
This is Ms. Sohn's third nomination to the Federal Communications 
Commission during the Biden administration. Her previous two 
nominations stalled thanks to her inability to garner any bipartisan 
support, and with good reason, because Gigi Sohn has to be the poster 
child for terrible Presidential nominees, although I suppose the Biden 
judicial nominee who couldn't explain article II of the Constitution 
should also be in the running for that title of worst Presidential 
  I have serious policy disagreements with Ms. Sohn on multiple issues. 
She not only wants to bring back the heavy-handed internet regulation 
of the Obama administration, but she wants to go further and have the 
FCC regulate broadband rates and set data caps. This would discourage 
broadband investment and threaten U.S. leadership in 5G, as well as 
diminish internet access opportunities for Americans outside of major 
urban and suburban areas.
  As a resident of a rural State, I also have serious concerns about 
Ms. Sohn's position on rural broadband. She has been publicly hostile 
to the efforts of rural broadband companies to expand reliable internet 
access to rural areas, while at the same time she supported the use of 
scarce government dollars to overbuild networks in already well-served 
  Her hostility to rural broadband led one former Democrat Senator to 
ask how Democrats can ``support rural broadband expansion and also 
support Gigi Sohn.''
  But my concerns with Ms. Sohn don't end there. I not only have 
serious policy disagreements with Ms. Sohn. I have serious questions 
about her character and fitness for the office for which she is 
  The Federal Communications Commission has jurisdiction over radio, 
TV, and the internet, which means that it deals with a number of 
sensitive issues--notably, free speech issues. And, for that reason, it 
calls for Commissioners who are thoughtful, fair, and impartial.
  Ms. Sohn is none of these. She is a virulent and unapologetic 
partisan known for speaking disparagingly of conservative media 
outlets--the same outlets, I would add, that she would be regulating--
and the politicians who disagree with her.
  Her nomination is opposed by a wide range of organizations, including 
the left-of-center Progressive Policy Institute, which opposes her due 
to a ``pattern of illiberal intolerance for voices on the left who 
dissent from her hard left orthodoxies.''
  Ms. Sohn is the very opposite of fair and impartial, and I can think 
of few

[[Page S543]]

candidates who would be more detrimental to the fair and impartial 
adjudication of media issues and the protection of free speech on 
public airwaves.
  But the problems with her nomination don't even end there. Ms. Sohn 
has raised serious ethics questions recently with her political 
donations to several Democrat Senators at the same time that her 
nomination was before the U.S. Senate.
  One of those donations was actually given to a member of the Commerce 
Committee, which, of course, is the committee considering her 
  Ms. Sohn may not have intended to influence Senators considering her 
nomination, but, at the very least, her decision to donate to these 
Senators while her nomination is before Congress gives the appearance 
of impropriety and raises serious questions about her judgment.
  But her ethical issues don't end there.
  She was less than forthcoming with the Commerce Committee about her 
time on the board of a company that was found to be operating in 
violation of copyright laws.
  And questions remain about how she got the substantial settlement 
against her company drastically reduced.
  Ms. Sohn has volunteered to recuse herself, if she is confirmed, on a 
variety of issues related to broadcasting and copyright violations 
because of her involvement with this company and the settlement.
  But I am hard-pressed to understand why we would choose a 
Commissioner who would have to recuse herself from participating in 
substantial parts of the FCC's work.
  Unfortunately, there is a lot more I could say about the problems 
with Ms. Sohn's nomination, but I will stop here.
  Suffice it to say that I cannot think of a less appropriate candidate 
for this position.
  Instead of continuing to attempt to place a virulent partisan like 
Ms. Sohn at the FCC, the President should nominate a qualified 
candidate who will do his or her job in a fair and impartial manner.
  And as I said at the beginning, if the President truly wants to usher 
in an era of bipartisanship in this period of divided government, he 
could start by rethinking some of the highly partisan renominations he 
has made in this Congress and consider nominating individuals who are 
able to gain at least some bipartisan support.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Warnock). The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. MANCHIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.