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Senator Lifts Hold on FCC Nominees

Senate Commerce Chairman Rockefeller anxious for May floor vote

The FCC may soon get two new commissioners and be back up to its full complement of five members. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he’s lifting his hold on the two nominees, Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai.

Grassley has been seeking documentation from the commission on an issue unrelated to the nominees, specifically about interference concerns to global positioning systems from the proposed LightSquared wireless broadband project.

While the documents he’s obtained so far raise more questions for him, Grassley said in a statement he intends to lift the hold on the two FCC nominees, yet also continue his investigation.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., said he was glad the “unreasonable hold” has been lifted and is anxious for the full Senate to vote on their nominations in May. The committee had sent the nominations for a floor vote in December.

If confirmed, Rosenworcel would take the seat of former Commissioner Michael Copps, a Democrat, who resigned in December, while Ajit would replace former Commissioner Meredith Baker, a Republican, who left the agency in May 2011 to join Comcast. Rosenworcel is senior communications counsel for the Senate Commerce Committee.She also has FCC experience. In fact, Copps is a former boss. Pai has worked at Jenner & Block since April 2011, and is a former FCC attorney and Senate staffer.