Grassley Lifts Hold On FCC Nominees, Vows To Continue Probe
After months of stalemate, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said on Friday he will stop blocking Senate votes on two nominees to the Federal Communications Commission.
Grassley blocked the nominees, one Democrat and one Republican, in December over the FCC's handling of LightSquared's plan to build a nationwide wireless network. That network plan was shown to interfere with global positioning systems, and Grassley sought documents from the FCC detailing its interactions with the company.
"The documents I've seen so far raise more questions than I had before," Grassley said in statement. "However, since there is now a process in place to obtain all of the relevant documents from the FCC, I intend to lift my hold on the two FCC nominees."
The FCC said it only responds to requests from lawmakers on the committees with oversight authority. In an effort to end the impasse, the House and Senate Commerce committees asked the FCC to provide the documents.
Grassley ccused the FCC of giving LightSquared preferential treatment. "The documents show that rather than being an objective arbiter, the commission appeared to be enthusiastic about the LightSquared project and wanted to see it materialize," he said. "The FCC badly mishandled LightSquared. Finding out exactly what went wrong is key toward preventing future debacles."
Last year President Obama nominated a Senate Commerce Committee senior communications counsel, Jessica Rosenworcel, to fill a Democratic seat on the FCC and Ajit Pai, a former FCC aide, to fill a Republican seat.