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How is one senator’s broken hip a threat to net neutrality?

Answer: Because it is delaying votes.

net neutrality lawsuit
You probably wouldn’t expect broken bones to have any bearing on telecom regulations, but here we are. Democrats need every butt in Senate seats in order to leverage their slimmer-than-slim majority, so the loss of even one can strongly affect policy outcomes. With Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., at home recovering from surgery after a broken hip, he is unable to cast votes.

This is preventing a vote to confirm President Biden’s nomination of Gigi Sohn to fill the fifth and currently empty seat on the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC commissioners are in a 2-2 deadlock on efforts to restore net neutrality protections, which were rolled back a couple of years ago. If Sohn were confirmed, that would very likely break the stalemate in favor of restoring net neutrality.

If Sohn is not confirmed before the midterm elections this fall, then her chances of confirmation become a lot more uncertain if more Republican senators win seats in Congress. That in turn would probably delay any action on net neutrality regulations.