“Nathan Simington is the wrong person, and clearly the wrong person at the wrong time for the FCC,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) in the lead up to today’s vote. “This appointment is dangerous because it threatens the integrity and political independence of the FCC.”
As Motherboard Notes, the fear is that Republicans will use Simington’s confirmation to get the agency into a bind. By law, the party that wins the presidential election appoints the head of the agency. But if the Senate does not hold confirmation hearings for the choice of President-elect Joe Biden in the New Year, the FCC will be split in two along party lines once current President Ajit Pai resigns on January 20. Then, when Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel’s term ends at the end of next year, there will be an additional possibility that Republicans can enter 2022 with a two-to-one majority at the agency. How things unfold will depend on how the Georgia Senate second round plays out in January. If Democrats win both available seats, they can nominate any candidates they see fit.