The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is opposing Senate confirmation for longtime net neutrality advocate Gigi Sohn, President Biden's choice to fill the last open slot on the Federal Communications Commission.
The business group, which is among the U.S.'s most powerful lobbying associations, cited Sohn's "longtime advocacy of overly aggressive and combative regulation of the communications sector" in a letter to the leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee.
Many Republican senators have opposed her over her role as a key staffer on the FCC's 2015 net neutrality rules. The agency's order banned internet service providers from blocking web content, slowing it down or demanding pay for prioritizing it. The absence of Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Luján, who has been recovering from a stroke, also slowed down action on Sohn's nomination. And several trade associations, especially for ISPs, have expressed worries about Sohn.
The Chamber, which counts AT&T on its board, said Sohn's work has placed her among the "leading advocates for policies that amount to regulatory overreach in the broadband market." That includes the net neutrality order, which the Chamber said "led to the decline in private sector broadband investment for the first time outside a national economic slowdown." (Research has come to varying conclusions on that point.)
"Ms. Sohn’s track record and her views on competition would create unnecessary obstacles to crafting effective, durable policies to ensure all Americans are connected," the Chamber said.