U.S. Senate Clears FCC Nominees Blocked Over Lightsquared

The U.S. Senate approved two Federal Communications Commission nominees who were held up by a Republican lawmaker challenging the agency’s handling of Philip Falcone’s LightSquared wireless venture.

Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, and Ajit Pai, a Republican, will bring the commission to its full membership of five for the first time since a Republican commissioner left in June to join Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) and a Democrat retired. The nominees cleared the Senate by unanimous consent.

The Senate Commerce Committee approved Rosenworcel and Pai in December to join the independent agency led by Chairman Julius Genachowski, a Democrat.

Senator Charles Grassley had prevented a vote by the full Senate because he said the FCC didn’t answer questions about whether it gave favorable treatment to LightSquared. The Reston, Virginia-based company sought FCC approval for its planned nationwide wireless network that critics said would interfere with satellite-based navigation gear. Grassley said on April 27 he would lift his hold because the FCC had begun producing documents.

Pai, 39, a partner at Jenner & Block, joined the law firm last year after leaving the general counsel’s office at the FCC, where he had worked since 2007, according to a Senate staff memo.

Rosenworcel, 40, is senior communications counsel to the Commerce Committee, where she has worked since 2007, according to the memo. She worked at the FCC from 1999 to 2007, including as a legal adviser to Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps, whom she will replace.

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd Shields in Washington at tshields3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

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