Sen. Ben Lujan, 49, RETURNS to work just a month after stroke to vote on Biden’s FCC pick

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Democratic Senator Ben Lujan, 49, RETURNS to work just a month after his stroke to vote on Biden’s pick to lead the FCC – which faced fierce Republican opposition

  • ‘It feels good to be back. I’ll tell you, I’ve missed you all,’ said New Mexico Democrat
  • He received a standing ovation from his fellow senators as he entered the room
  • With Lujan’s vote, a divided Senate Commerce Committee voted along party lines to remove Gigi Sohn from the committee.
  • The FCC was split 2-2 between Republicans and Democrats and Sohn’s confirmation would give Democrats a 3-2 majority
  • His arrival could move the FCC forward on policy initiatives such as net neutrality rules










Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Lujan returned to Congress on Wednesday for the first time in a month since suffering a stroke, just in time to vote to kick Federal Communications Commission nominee Gigi Sohn out of office. the Senate Commerce Committee.

“To all of you who sent me notes, who sent me videos and all the prayers, it worked. And it’s good to be back. I’ll tell you, you all got me missed,’ the New Mexico Democrat said as he returned to work.

He received a standing ovation from his fellow senators as he entered the room.

The news of Luján’s stroke, which was released by his office five days after his hospitalization, took Capitol Hill by surprise. At 49, the freshman Democrat is pretty young in a chamber with a median age of around 63.

After a stint at an inpatient rehabilitation center, the senator vowed to return to Congress in ‘a few more weeks’ and promised he would return to vote on President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Kentanji Jackson Brown .

With Lujan’s vote, a divided Senate Commerce Committee voted along party lines to kick Sohn off the committee and send his nomination to a full vote. The vote was 14 to 14, and in the event of a tie, a candidate can get a floor vote but without a recommendation for or against.

The FCC was split 2-2 between Republicans and Democrats and Sohn’s confirmation would give Democrats a 3-2 majority. His arrival could move the FCC forward on policy initiatives such as net neutrality rules.

With Lujan’s vote, a divided Senate Commerce Committee voted along party lines to kick FCC pick Gigi Sohn off the committee and send her nomination to a full vote.

Gigi Sohn, above, has drawn stiff opposition from the GOP, in part because of critical remarks she made to Fox News

Gigi Sohn, above, has drawn stiff opposition from the GOP, in part because of critical remarks she made to Fox News

Sohn, an open internet advocate, could help advance President Biden’s promise to reinstate Obama-era net neutrality rules, which would require internet service providers to process all web traffic from the same way.

Sohn drew stiff opposition from the GOP, in part because of critical remarks she made to Fox News.

Sohn was asked in December about her past tweets calling the news network state-sponsored propaganda. Sohn, a law professor at Georgetown University, acknowledged that his tweets were “concerning to some” but maintained his case and said any internal bias would not influence his work.

“I have a list of Fox News comments here, are you biased against them?” Senator Roy Blunt asked him.

“I understand that they’re of concern to some, and anyone who knows me knows that I’m pretty straightforward,” she said. And anyone who knows me knows that I’m pretty straightforward. But they were made in my role as a public defender.

Maybe the tone was a bit higher – maybe I should have tone it down a bit,’ she said. She said it was part of her job as a public interest advocate.

Blunt then asked her about the “state-sponsored” comment.

“My opinions as a public interest advocate will have no bearing on how I behave as a decision maker,” she replied. She said it wouldn’t affect how she adjudicated a case with one of those companies.

The hearing became so contentious that Sohn had to appear again in February, where she agreed to recuse herself from some broadcast regulatory issues due to her role as president of Public Knowledge, a group advocating for an internet free and open and affordable access to communications.

Democrats need every vote from their caucus to advance federal and judicial candidates, who are not subject to Senate filibuster, and they don’t need any votes from Republicans. In the Senate 50-50, Vice President Kamala Harris serves as the deciding vote.

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