FCC Nominees Get Hearing, but Grassley Still Threatening Hold

Iowa Republican could block confirmation of new commissioners

President Obama's two nominees for the Federal Communications Commission are one step closer to being confirmed, as the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has scheduled a hearing on their nominations for Nov. 30. But they still have a large obstacle standing in their way. 

Republican Ajit Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel, both former FCC staffers, should fare well before the committee—especially Rosenworcel, who has served as senior communications counsel for the committee. But once they get past the committee, they're at the mercy of Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who's threatened to put a hold on the nominations in order to force the FCC to turn over documents related to wireless company LightSquared.

Grassley and his staff have met with Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who chairs the Commerce Committee, and his staff, to discuss the hold, but until Grassley receives the documents he wants, he's standing pat.

"Talks are ongoing about how Sen. Rockefeller might help to persuade the FCC to be forthcoming with the materials," a spokeswoman for Grassley said in a statement. "Since CREW [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington] 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."