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Cruz Blasts Geoffrey Starks for FCC Track Record

Texas senator opposes the nomations of both Gomez and Starks

Headshot of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas
Sen. Ted Cruz

When it came time for the Commerce Committee to vote this week, Sen. Ted Cruz opposed the nominations of both Anna Gomez and Geoffrey Starks.

The two Democrats did advance to the Senate, where their party holds a slender majority. Gomez is up for the vacant seat for which Gigi Sohn had been nominated earlier, and Starks has been renominated.

But Cruz, the ranking Republican on the Commerce Committee, used the opportunity to highlight his concerns about both.

He said Starks had resisted “sensible efforts” to root out waste in a broadband subsidy program.

“During his four and half years at the FCC, he’s developed a record that leaves much to be desired. He stayed silent when the FCC chairwoman abused the agency’s process to kill a major multi-billion-dollar broadcast transaction. He claims to be tough on waste, fraud and abuse, but has opposed key recommendations to reduce fraud in the Affordable Connectivity Program apparently because he doesn’t want to bar illegal aliens from receiving taxpayer-funded subsidies.”

Geoffrey Starks

Cruz also said Starks had “provided troubling answers when I asked him about FCC plans to impose crippling new legal risk on companies through disparate impact lawsuits.”

Cruz supported the renomination of Republican Brendan Carr.

About Anna Gomez, he accused her of “an appetite for regulatory overreach and lukewarm commitments to procedural fairness and the First Amendment.” He said the nominee doesn’t possess “the independence and regulatory humility necessary for confirmation,” that she “refused to disavow heavy-handed net neutrality rules” and that she had “given non-committal answers” about transparency and accountability at the FCC.

“But most of all, I am troubled by her previous online posts concerning the use of government power to police so-called ‘disinformation.’”

The senator alleged that the administration has trampled on the First Amendment to silence opposing views and that the Department of Homeland Security had tried unsuccessfully “to create its own Ministry of Truth.” Cruz said he doubed that Gomez “would actively oppose censorship by the FCC.”

Anna Gomez headshot
FCC Nominee Anna Gomez

Noting the long period in which the FCC has lacked a fifth commissioner, he said it wasn’t the Republicans’ fault that the White House “failed to prioritize the FCC,” nominated an “unconfirmable left-wing extremist” in Gigi Sohn, “and then slow-walked nominating her replacement.”

Cruz also complained that senators did not have the opportunity to question the nominees or meet with them in advance of the vote. He said there was a rush to schedule the hearing and that it conflicted with other business.

Committee Chair Maria Cantwell by comparison has said Gomez “demonstrated she has the experience and judgment to be highly effective in this role as commissioner and has earned bipartisan support for her nomination.”

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