After months of delay, Democrat nominee Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican nominee Ajit Pai were unanimously confirmed as FCC Commissioners by the U.S. Senate. While the FCC has been a triumvirate since the end of December, the panel will return to a full slate of five with the swearing in of these two new commissioners.
In October 2011, President Obama nominated Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai to fill the seats of Commissioner Michael Copps, whose tenure ended in December, and former Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker, who resigned last summer to join Comcast. Rosenworcel served in a number of Senior Counsel positions in Congress and at the FCC, including the role of Senior Legal Advisor to Commissioner Copps and a senior staffer for Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). Pai, too, held Senior Counsel positions at the FCC, Department of Justice, and on Capitol Hill, including Chief Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Constitution Subcommittee under former Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS).
While the nominees themselves were received well by Senators of both parties, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) thwarted their confirmation for months over a dispute with FCC Chairman Genachowski about obtaining documents related to the FCC’s waiver for LightSquared to advance a terrestrial 4G network. Senator Grassley recently released his hold after coming to an understanding, and the nominees were quickly approved by the Senate.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations