Sen. Cruz: Anna Gomez’s Confirmation Will Harm Taxpayers, Broadband Deployment, and 1st Amendment Freedoms

September 7, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took to the Senate floor to voice his opposition to President Biden’s nomination of Anna Gomez to sit on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Below is a transcript of Sen. Cruz’s remarks as delivered:

I rise today to discuss Anna Gomez, one of President Biden’s FCC nominees. If confirmed, she would give Democrats a majority at the FCC that would enable them to impose a radical left-wing agenda, including investment-killing so-called net neutrality rules—otherwise known as ‘Obamacare for the Internet.’ I strongly oppose her nomination and encourage my colleagues to do the same.

“The FCC exercises vast power over how Americans communicate and access information. It also has a history of abusing vague statutory provisions to pursue partisan policy goals. In the wrong hands, the FCC could go down a dark path of censoring speech and engaging in regulatory overreach.

“Under current Democrat FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s leadership, that threat is not merely hypothetical.  The FCC has engaged in unprecedented abuses of power, such as killing the multi-billion dollar Standard General-TEGNA transaction without a Commission vote, attempting to expand Universal Service Fund spending in defiance of clear statutory limits, and holding valuable 2.5 GHz spectrum licenses hostage.

“Even more alarming, the FCC is now entertaining requests by radical left-wing groups to revoke a broadcast station’s license for alleged ‘misinformation’ and turning a routine FCC license renewal proceeding into a truth commission—an alarming assault on the First Amendment. 

“And that’s without a Democrat majority on the FCC.  With a majority, there’s no telling what regulatory excesses the Chairwoman could inflict, from forcing antiquated telephone monopoly rules on the competitive broadband industry, to micromanaging providers’ rates and terms of service, to imposing crippling new legal risks on American companies through “disparate impact” lawsuits.

“Make no mistake: a vote for Anna Gomez is a vote for regulating the Internet as a public utility.  Ms. Gomez has publicly supported the reinstatement of the heavy-handed Obama-era net neutrality rules that would make the Internet more expensive and slower for American households—despite privately confessing that Democrats had engaged in wild “hyperbole” in opposing the repeal of net neutrality.

“Rather than giving reasons for the reinstatement of the failed net neutrality rules, she claims she simply wants ‘robust authority’ over the Internet—in other words, the power to regulate companies’ pricing and terms of service, and to collect billions of dollars in new taxes from them and you the consumer—all at the expense of investment, innovation, and consumer choice.

“She has also refused to disavow ongoing efforts to impose investment-killing ‘disparate impact’ liability on American broadband companies.

“And she has given non-committal answers to my requests for commitments to improve transparency and accountability at the FCC. 

“Ms. Gomez also has a history of failing to protect taxpayer interests. In the Obama administration, she had a senior leadership role in implementing a wasteful $4 billion broadband grant program. In one egregious example, funding from a $100 million project in Colorado was used to build a third fiber connection to a single school of 11 students. 

“But by far, most concerning is Ms. Gomez’s history of tweets concerning the use of government power to police so-called misinformation.

“For instance, she has retweeted a claim made by Democrat Congresswoman Cori Bush—who is a member of the radical left-wing Squad in the House—that Trump engaged in a ‘targeted mass disinformation campaign against 3.5 million Black voters in 2016’ for the purpose of voter suppression. 

“In addition, she tweeted enthusiastically in support of efforts by the Defense Department’s research wing—known as DARPA—and the federal government to crack down on so-called “disinformation.”

“At this point, it’s well known that the Biden Administration has repeatedly trampled on the First Amendment to silence opposing views.  The White House press secretary publicly bragged that they were ‘in regular touch’ and ‘flagging problematic posts’ for social media companies—and threatening new legislation if those companies did not heed the censors.

“And the Biden DHS tried to create its own Ministry of Truth before a public backlash shamed them into disbanding the effort.

“Amid these First Amendment assaults, as well as recent efforts at the FCC to deplatform a Fox broadcast station, it was critical to gain clarity into Ms. Gomez’s views on free speech, ‘disinformation,’ and the FCC’s role in such matters.  Unfortunately, she gave vague answers to my questions and did not reassure the Commerce Committee that she would actively oppose censorship by the FCC. 

“Confirming Ms. Gomez would harm taxpayers, broadband investment and innovation, and, most importantly, our First Amendment freedoms.  I strongly encourage my colleagues to oppose her nomination.”