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Rockefeller, Grassley Still Trying to Work Out FCC Nominee Issues

Conversations are said to be ongoing between the office of Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and Sen. Charles Grassley over the latter's vow to block the Senate vote on confirming the Federal Communications Commission's potential new members, one of which, Jessica Rosenworcel, is Rockefeller's top communications policy advisor.

Grassley's issue is that the FCC declined to provide him with internal and external documents on the waiver it issued LightSquared to launch a national wholesale wireless broadband network that will use satellite spectrum for terrestrial delivery. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski explained to Grassley that the agency only responded to such requests from the chairs of relevant committees.

Rockefeller is one of those chairs and according to a source, one of the scenarios that has been discussed included Rockefeller asking for the documents, retaining jurisdiction over them, and letting Grassley have access to them. Grassley is ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which also has oversight responsibility in communications areas.

No official comment from Rockefeller's office-Grassley's spokesperson was not available for comment--but a Rockefeller aide speaking on background said: "Chairman Rockefeller has stated publicly that he will work to address any concerns related to the FCC nominations. However, at this time, he has made no formal request on Senator Grassley's behalf for LightSquared documents from the FCC."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he will schedule some nominations for votes this week, but did not say which. Any senator can put a hold on a nomination and it need not have anything to do with the qualifications of the nominee.