Senate schedules FCC nomination hearings

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A Republican office on the FCC’s 8th Floor has been vacant since the summer, and a Democratic office is about to empty. But Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, will move to fill them both. He’s put hearings for two candidates nominated by President Barack Obama on the schedule. However, passage through Commerce may simply lead to the next legislative snag.


The candidates are Jessica Rosenworcel for the Democrats and Ajit Pai for the Republicans.

The hearing is scheduled for 11/30/11 at 2:30PM. The afternoon start time will keep the event from competing with the FCC’s November Open Meeting, unless it goes into serious overtime. However, that is unlikely. The Open Meeting is also scheduled for the 30th but it will start in the AM and has a light agenda according to the sneak preview sent out by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

“I am pleased to announce this important step in the confirmation process,” Chairman Rockefeller said.  “These are exceptional nominees who will be effective advocates at the FCC.  As we consider these nominations, I remain committed to working with my colleagues to address any concerns and move these nominations to a full Senate confirmation as expeditiously as possible.”

However, problems exist between the FCC and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) over an unfulfilled request for documents involving LightSquared, and Grassley has promised to hold up the nominations until his concerns are satisfied.

A spokesperson on Grassley’s staff told RBR/TVBR, “Sen. Grassley hasn’t received any materials from the FCC. He and Sen. Rockefeller talked, and their staffs subsequently met. Talks are ongoing about how Sen. Rockefeller might help to persuade the FCC to be forthcoming with the materials. Technically, Sen. Grassley’s hold doesn’t kick in until the nominations are on the Senate’s executive calendar for floor consideration, so nothing has changed here. Since CREW just received boxes of documents from the Administration on LightSquared, it seems the documents are readily available, and there’s no reason for the FCC to withhold them from Sen. Grassley.

RBR-TVBR observation: We’ve heard nothing but positive reviews about this pair of candidates. On top of that, dealing with one per party in tandem increases the odds of an easy confirmation process. We’ll have to wait and see how easy passage through the tangled webs and labyrinthine mazes of Washington is for this pair.