Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees communications, was an outspoken advocate for Jessica Rosenworcel for the chairmanship nod that went to Tom Wheeler Wednesday -- Rosenworcel is Rockefeller's former top telecom aide. Rockefeller went so far as to send a letter to the President asking him to "seriously consider" naming her.
He also reportedly expressed some concern about Wheeler's lobbying past.
So, when Rockefeller, whose committee must approve the nomination, did not issue a statement Wednesday or Thursday following the President's announcement of Wheeler -- many other legislators did, including the chair and ranking members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee -- was that silence itself a sign of disapproval, either that Wheeler was the pick or that Rosenworcel wasn't, or both?
Not according to a source close to the senator speaking on background, who explained that Congress is not in session this week and Rockefeller was busy with matters at home, including helping mark the 10 millionth car to come off the line at the Toyota plant there, and had not been available to sign off on a statement.
They are expecting to put out a statement Friday.
Meanwhile, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), chairman of the Communications Subcommittee, who had also signed onto the letter supporting Rosenworcel, released a statement that was short of an endorsement.
"Tom Wheeler is a veteran of the telecom industry, and has extensive knowledge and experience with communications issues. As the chairman of the Communications, Technology and Internet Subcommittee, I'm looking forward to talking with Wheeler about his vision for the FCC, and how we can work together to protect consumers and further strengthen communication services in Arkansas and across the country."