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Gigi Sohn Nomination Pulled from Confirmation Vote

Committee says that recalibration was due to lining up enough Democratic votes

Update: A second nomination hearing for Sohn has been scheduled for Feb. 9.

A Groundhog Day shadow is passing over the nomination of Gigi Sohn to the FCC, but it likely has to do with another shadow that passed over the committee this week.

Signaling that there would not be enough Democratic votes to secure a favorable report of her nomination to the full Senate, it has been stricken — literally — from the agenda for Wednesday’s (February 2) vote on a host of nominations.

That is according to a note late Tuesday from the committee. Also pulled was the nomination of Alvero Bedoya to the open seat on the Federal Trade Commission and Mary Boyle to be a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The reason appears to be the absence of committee Democrat Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), who suffered a stroke and is in the hospital, though he is expected to make a full recovery. “[T]he speedy recovery of Sen. Luján remains first and foremost priority,” said the committee before reporting the dropped nomination, all likely to need every Democrat to get approval.

“[T]he list of nominations to be considered at tomorrow’s Commerce mark-up has been recalibrated to take into consideration the need for all Democratic votes in order to move certain nominees forward,” said a committee spokesperson.

Perhaps the delay is so legislators can contemplate the issues raised by cable and telecom ISPs Tuesday. Both NCTA President Michael Powell and USTelecom President Jonathan Spalter wrote the committee to raise concerns about Sohn’s recusal offer related to broadcast copyright and retrans.

A version of this story appeared first in our sister publication Broadcasting & Cable.