Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., is willing to support an FCC nominee who President Donald Trump picked to fight social media censorship, but is worried he will not have time to get approved before the election, according to Thune Communications Director Ryan Wrasse to Newsmax.
Trump nominated Nathan Simington who works as an adviser in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Thune has agreed to “move forward” with Simington as the FCC nominee if that is what Trump wants, “but I think [the White House will] have to deal with the reality that it’s unlikely that we can get through this process before,” he told reporters.
In June, Trump issued an executive order designed to prevent online censorship. The order “requests that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) clarify that Section 230 does not permit social media companies that alter or editorialize users’ speech to escape civil liability.”
Thune wants Trump to renominate commissioner Michael O’Rielly, who has hinted he would go against the president’s executive order. A bill currently before the FCC would give tech companies the right to censor its users with a small risk of facing legal consequences.
Thune had said keeping O’Rielly “would be the simplest thing to do.”
“Hopefully,” Thune had added, “they’ll come to that realization.”
A spokesperson for Thune said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss., must give a week’s notice before scheduling hearing for Simington. Another week’s notice is required for the nominee to be approved. Once multiple-week process takes place, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has little time left to put Simingtion on the floor before election day.
The spokesperson said the committee is only scheduled to be in session for fewer than three weeks leading up to the election. After that, the committee will go on recess until after the election.
And even then, Simington is likely to face opposition from Senate Democrats, which would drag out the time it takes to get him confirmed, the spokesman told Newsmax.
O’Rielly would have a simpler path forward since he was already approved by the committee in July.