US Congress vote result: 49 : 46
Nathan Simington was just confirmed 49-46!
— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) December 8, 2020
The Senate today confirmed the appointment of Nathan Simington to the FCC, which with the imminent departure of Chairman Ajit Pai sets up the agency for years of deadlock unless Democrats take the Senate. The last-minute appointment breaks with political norms, and the vote was entirely on party lines after Democrats objected to the nomination.
Simington has been a senior adviser at the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, where recently he helped craft the public-relations effort there around Trump’s attacks on Section 230, the law that prevents companies like Twitter and Amazon from being liable for things posted on them by users. (The outgoing president primarily objects to the frequent labeling of his tweets as misleading or outright false.)
The rush to confirm a new Commissioner follows the unceremonious dumping of Mike O’Rielly, a Republican Commissioner who has generally fallen in line with this administration’s policies but made the fatal error of speaking out against the effort to change Section 230. Due to be nominated for another term, he was instead dropped in favor of Simington, who has demonstrated no scruple about using the FCC as a muzzle for social media.