Senate Confirms FCC Nominees

Candidates were blocked for more than 5 months

The Senate confirmed two FCC nominees Monday afternoon, bringing the agency to its full membership of five.

The two new commissioners, Republican Ajit Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel, were nominated by President Obama in late fall and confirmed by the Senate Commerce Committee in December. But the nominations were held hostage by a hold initiated by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) who used the move to extract documents from the FCC as part of his investigation into wireless company LightSquared. He lifted the hold two weeks ago after Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, intervened with the FCC for Grassley.

The FCC has been short-handed for more than a year. It was left with four commissioners a year ago when Republican Meredith Attwell Baker left to join NBCUniversal's Washington office. At the end of last year, Democrat Michael Copps' term ended, leaving the commission down by two.

Both Pai and Rosenworcel worked at the FCC during their careers. Pai is a former partner at Jenner & Block. Rosenworcel, a former legal adviser to Copps, was most recently the senior communications counsel to the Senate Commerce Committee. 

The duo are expected to be sworn in this week, making their first appearance at an FCC monthly meeting on May 24.