The Senate approved two nominees to the Federal Communications Commission after a months-long political tangle over an agency grappling with policies to bolster wireless Internet networks.
Republican Ajit Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel were unanimously approved Monday to join the FCC’s five-member board. They are widely supported by members of Congress, who lauded their past experience at the FCC and in telecom policy.
First named in October as President Obama’s picks for the agency, their appointments were held up for several months as Sen Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.) refused to vote for their nominations as a measure of protest against the FCC. The lawmaker said he would only vote on the nominees if the agency agreed to release documents related to its controversial licensing decisions on Reston-based satellite venture LightSquared.
Last week, Grassley agreed to lift his hold after the release of those documents.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski lauded the confirmations.
“They bring deep knowledge of our sector, and proven track records of accomplishment,” he said. “President Obama made an outstanding choice in their nominations, and I look forward to working with them.”
The biggest agenda items for the FCC this year include the development of an auction of broadcast airwaves to be used to bolster wireless Internet networks.
This post has been updated since it was first published.