Grassley Hold Threat Still Hangs Over FCC Nominees

Would not become relevant until the nominations were sent to the floor for a vote
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Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) may still block a vote on new FCC commissioners stemming from his disaffection with the FCC's response to him, or lack of it, on its LightSquared waiver.

"The hold is still a possibility," said a Grassley spokesperson. "Nothing has been resolved." The Senate Commerce Committee is holding a hearing on the nominees -- Jessica Rosenworcel for the Democratic seat and Ajit Pai for the Republican -- on Nov. 30, but the hold would not become relevant until the nominations were voted out of the committee and sent to the floor for a vote.

The FCC put some LightSquared documents online last week in response to FOIA requests. The Grassley spokesperson said the cognressman was not given a heads up they were going to be posted, but those documents still are not responsive to specific questions and categories of info, the spokesperson said. An FCC source made clear last week that the online posting was not meant to be responsive to Grassley's request, which the FCC's chairman has declined to fulfill citing the fact that the request did not come from the chair of a relevant oversight committee.

But Sen. Grassley is still waiting for a response to his specific requests about info on the waiver. The FCC granted the waiver but it was always conditional on resolving interference issues with GPS service from LightSquared's proposed new terrestrial, wholesale wireless broadband network. The FCC has indicated it would not allow the service to proceed until those issues were resolved, issues that Grassley is also concerned about.

But unless the senator gets the response the FCC has indicated it does not plan to provide, the hold on the nominations remains a possibility.

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