Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said on Tuesday that he’s willing to sit down with Sen. Chuck Grassley and work out the Iowa Republican’s opposition to two nominees for the Federal Communications Commission, but it's not clear how much Rockefeller can do.
Grassley has said he plans to put a hold on the confirmations of Rockefeller’s senior communications counsel, Jessica Rosenworcel, to fill a Democratic seat on the FCC and of Ajit Pai, a former commission aide, to fill a Republican seat.
Grassley and the FCC have been going back and forth over the senator’s request for information about the commission’s communications with the wireless start-up LightSquared. He says he will block the FCC confirmations until the commission gives him the documents he has requested.
Anything short of that, Grassley said on Tuesday, wouldn’t be enough to win his approval.
Although Rockefeller told reporters that he has not yet talked with Grassley, he is hopeful that he can resolve the concerns soon.
“I really like Chuck, so rather than just go charging, I want to find out all of his thinking and his reasons so that I can respond to them honestly and well. AndI think I can,” Rockefeller said.
Grassley also signaled a willingness to talk with Rockefeller but said that it’s up to the FCC to act.
“I’m willing to sit down, but all [Rockefeller] has to do is tell the FCC to give us the documents,” he said.
Grassley has raised questions about the FCC’s consideration of LightSquared, which wants to build a nationwide wholesale wireless network but has run into opposition over its potential to interfere with global positioning systems.
Both LightSquared and the FCC have denied Grassley’s requests for documents. The FCC says it only responds to official requests from members of committees with oversight of the agency.
Grassley said he has yet to talk with Obama administration officials about holding the confirmation process; such conversations, however, may have happened at the staff level.