Kamala Harris makes tie-breaking vote to confirm Biden nominee

Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote in a deadlocked Senate and opened the path for President Joe Biden’s nominee to the Federal Trade Commission to be confirmed.

Democrats will score a majority at the FTC if Georgetown University law professor Alvaro Bedoya is confirmed. His nomination vote stalled as the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee was tied 14-14 before Harris stepped in to break the deadlock. In a procedural move, the Senate voted 51-50 on Wednesday, giving Bedoya the green light to move ahead in the process.

If confirmed, Democrats will gain a 3-2 majority on the panel that enforces antitrust laws and federal consumer protection. Currently, Lina M. Khan, an outspoken critic of Big Tech, is the FTC Commissioner nominee.

Bedoya, the Director of Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology, also served as Chief Counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law,

Ahead of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urged his colleagues to vote in favor of Bedoya.

“Without Mr. Bedoya, the FTC and members are left handicapped and incapable of moving forward, so today’s motion to discharge is a matter of immense importance and I hope all my colleagues who care about fighting inflation and price manipulation vote to proceed with Mr. Bedoya’s nomination,” the New York Democrat said on the Senate floor.

In a statement following the vote, the Committee for Justice organization commented on the “runaway FTC.”

“Republican opposition and the resulting six-month long 2-2 deadlock at the FTC created by Senate inaction on Bedoya’s nomination was not enough to rein in a runaway FTC,” said director of public policy, Ashley Baker. “Eventually, it may be that it will be left to the courts to do so. Until then, the Federal Trade Commission appears to be well-insulated against any meaningful form of Congressional oversight.”

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