The FCC, now controlled by the
power-hungry Democratic Party
Failure theater: The Senate yesterday voted 55 to 43 to approve Biden’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nominee, Anna Gomez, thus giving the Democrats a 4 to 3 majority on the Commission.
This was Biden’s second nominee to the commission, with the first withdrawn when it was clear the Senate opposed the nominee.
Biden tried again in May with the nomination of Gomez, a State Department digital policy official who was previously deputy assistant secretary at the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) from 2009 to 2023. A lawyer, Gomez was vice president of government affairs at Sprint Nextel from 2006 to 2009 and before that spent about 12 years at the FCC in several roles.
Gomez got through the confirmation process with relative ease, though most Republicans voted against her. Both parties seem to expect the FCC to reinstate net neutrality rules now that Democrats will have a majority.
Imposing net neutrality is essentially socialism/communism for the internet. It will squash competition, cost a fortune, and eventually be used as well to squelch dissent online (which translates into silencing conservatives).
From the perspective of space, the majority on the FCC is likely very bad news as well, for several reasons. On a global scale, it means the commission can now go full throttle on the effort by the Democrats on the commission to establish new regulations on the lifespan of satellites and how they will subsequently be removed from orbit. While some of these regulations might make some sense, none of them are within the FCC’s statutory authority. The Senate’s endorsement of this new Democrat majority means it is essentially endorsing this grab for power, once again ceding is legal power to the unelected administrative state in Washington. No longer do the legislators write laws. Bureaucrats do it, and do it at will.
On a smaller scale, this new majority of Democrats at the FCC will likely further squelch new launches. For years the FCC — led by the Democrats on the commission — has been working to expand its role in giving the communications licenses needed by launch companies when they do launches, above and beyond the launch license responsibility of the FAA. Expect it to do so more and more, denying communications licenses for launches when it considers a rocket unready for launch, two things that have nothing to do with each other.
For SpaceX and Starship/Superheavy in particular, this additional power now in the hands of the Democratic Party bodes very ill. Just as the FAA is slow-walking launch license approvals for the rocket, expect the FCC to do the same in issuing future communications licenses for any future test launches. The FCC commissioners have become entirely political in recent years, doing things based on partisan politics, not on the laws that regulate the commission. With that in mind, we should expect the Biden administration to apply political pressure on the Democrat FCC commissioners to block SpaceX, and further expect them to willingly go along.
Finally, this vote only occurred because the Republicans once again folded like a house of cards, with five Republicans — Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, and Todd Young of Indiana — joining the Democrats to approve the nominee. Republicans are fighting a party aimed at shutting down all opposition, including the use of political kangaroo trials and heavy prison sentences and SWAT raids for those who publicly dissent against them. Such actions require strong opposition. Instead, the Republicans are weak.
No wonder Trump leads so strongly in all polls. He represents an outsider who is seen as someone who opposes the administrative state that both Democrats and the establishment Republicans love so much. Expect that establishment in Washington to use all its power to block him from winning in 2024. Expect also that it will succeed.