Senate Commerce Committee Approves FCC Nominations

The Senate Commerce Committee Thursday approved the nominations of Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai to be commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission.

That came in a voice vote among a quorum of Senators on the committee who had gathered on the floor for the first quorum call of the day. Also approved was the nomination of Jon Leibowitz for another term as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission.

It now remains to be seen whether Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has been persuaded to lift his hold on the nominations and allow for a full Senate vote, which could come almost any time if there is no hold. A spokesperson for the Senator told B&C following the vote said that his hold was still planned and that he would have a statement on the vote.

Grassley is unhappy with the FCC's refusal to release documents related to his request for info on how the FCC granted a waiver to LightSquared to launch a terrestrial wholesale wireless broadband network.

Rosenworcel is currently senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, and a top communications policy advisor to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), whose committee will vet the commissioners.

Pai, also a former Senate staffer has, since last spring, been a partner at Jenner & Block LLP. Before that he was in the Office of the General Counsel at the Federal Communications Commission, where he was Deputy General Counsel, Associate General Counsel, and Special Advisor to the General Counsel.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.