FCC nominees get hearing, even with LightSquared tussle

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing Nov. 30 on the confirmations of nominees Ajit Varadaraj Pai and Jessica Rosenworcel as new members of the Federal Communications Committee.

Pai and Rosenworcel were nominated by President Obama late last month and are tech policy and FCC veterans who are generally expected to be approved by the Senate committee.

But the nominees are also being caught up in a tussle between Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski over the lawmaker’s investigation of the agency’s decision last January to grant a controversial waiver to mobile satellite provider LightSquared.

Grassley has said he will hold up the nominees until Genachowski cooperates with his request for documents related to the FCC’s decision to grant LightSquared’s waiver. The satellite firm’s network has tested to interfere with GPS users.

Committee chairman John “Jay” Rockefeller (D-WVa.) said he will push for fast confirmation.

“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,” Rockefeller said.

Cecilia Kang is a staff writer covering the business of media and entertainment.

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