Senate Commerce Approves FCC Nominees

WASHINGTON: The full Senate Commerce Committee today approved of President Obama’s nominees for the Federal Communications Commission. Jessica Rosenworcel, the committee’s senior telecom counsel, and litigator Ajit Pai were confirmed on voice vote, as were two other nominees for other departments.

“When it comes to putting leaders at the helm of the FTC and FCC, there are no better candidates than the accomplished public servants the commerce committee approved today,” Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.V.) said in a statement. “We need effective consumer advocates. I am especially pleased to move forward with Ms. Rosenworcel’s nomination. Her expertise on communications policy will be a major asset to the commission.”

Rosenworcel is set to replace outgoing veteran Democratic commissioner, Michael Copps, for whom she once worked. Rosenworcel was his legal adviser from 2003 to 2007. Pai, a partner in the Litigation Department of Jenner & Block LLP, is nominated to take the seat vacated by Meredith Attwell Baker, who left the FCC in May to work for Comcast. Pai also once worked at the commission in the Office of General Counsel.

The nominees must now clear the full Senate, though Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has placed a hold on the nominations in protest of the FCC not providing him with information he’d requested about the LightSquared waiver, according to John Eggerton of B&C.

“I’m confident we can address any concerns about the nominees quickly so we can clear the way for full Senate confirmation,” Rockefeller said.

~ Deborah D. McAdams