Hearing Set for President’s FCC Nominees


Washington — The Senate Commerce
Committee has scheduled a
nomination hearing for prospective
Federal Communications
Commission members Ajit
Pai and Jessica Rosenworcel for
Nov. 30 at 2:30 p.m.

But even if the nominations
are approved by the committee,
they might not advance to a full
Senate vote unless a senator’s
concerns about obtaining information
related to FCC actions
regarding LightSquared can be

Pai and Rosenworcel are nominees to fill
the Republican FCC commissioner seat of
Meredith Attwell Baker and the soon-to-be
vacant seat of Democrat Michael Copps, respectively.

They are considered noncontroversial
and likely to get committee approval. But
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has signaled
he would put a hold on both nominations
until the FCC
offers up more information
about a conditional
waiver for
the LightSquared
wholesale 4G wireless
broadband network

The waiver is on
hold due to issues
about interference
with GPS receivers.
The FCC is conducting
more tests, while
LightSquared says it has a fix for the problem
and is willing to pay for it.

Grassley has complained the FCC ignored
document requests about the agency’s
communications with LightSquared,
its backers and the White House.

The FCC told Grassley in July it did not
respond to member requests, only to those
from the chairmen of the relevant oversight
committee, per the Congressional
Oversight Manual. Grassley
is the ranking member on the
judiciary panel.

A source said Sen. Grassley
met with the staff of Sen. Jay
Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) last week
to talk about how the chairman
might be able to help persuade
the FCC to respond to Grassley’s
information request and
clear the path for a Senate vote
on the nominations.

Rosenworcel is currently senior
counsel for the Commerce Committee’s
communications subcommittee and
a top communications policy adviser to
Rockefeller. Pai, since last spring, has been
a partner at Jenner & Block LLP. Before that
he was an FCC staffer.