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Grassley, Rockefeller Staffers Meet Over FCC Nominee Hold Threat

There could be some movement on the stalled FCC nominee front.

According to a spokeswoman for Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), his staffers met with those of Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) Monday (Feb. 27) to discuss the senator's hold on two pending nominations, one of which is Jessica Rosenworcel, a top telecom aide to Rockefeller. The other is Ajit Pai, a communications attorney and former FCC official and Senate staffer.

It is the first meeting about the hold threat since December, a Grassley staffer confirmed.

The Grassley spokeswoman called the meeting a "development" rather than "progress," and would not further characterize the meeting beyond saying it was about the nominations, the hold threat and a possible resolution.

The Grassley hold threat stems from his request for documents related to the FCC's LightSquared waiver, documents the FCC has declined to provide because Grassley is not the chair of a relevant committee (which Rockefeller is).

The FCC has been without a full complement of commissioners since last spring, when it was reduced to four by the exit of Meredith Attwell Baker for Comcast. It has been at three since the retirement of Michael Copps at the end of last year.

Elsewhere on the FCC nominee hold front, the Chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee has asked the FCC for documents similar to those sought by Grassley., who said Tuesday his hold would remain on the pending FCC nominees until he got access to the LightSquared documents, whether from the FCC directly or the House Energy & Commerce Committee.
A Grassley spokeswoman had indicated to B&C earlier Tuesday that the hold might be lifted even without the FCC providing all the documents requested, so long as it displayed "some level of cooperation" with the request, "if not every last document that [the senator] asked for."