Franken calls merger between Comcast-Time Warner a 'disaster'

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Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said Sunday that Comcast's plans to purchase Time Warner Cable would harm competition and raise prices in cable television and broadband internet.

Franken, one of Capitol Hill's most vocal opponents of the merger, did not mince words in describing his opposition to CNN's Brian Stelter.

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"This is a disaster," Franken said on "Reliable Sources."

"This is the No. 1 cable TV company buying the No. 2. And this is the No. 1 Internet broadband company buying the No. 3."

Asked if there is any upside in the deal for consumers, Franken said, "I can't see one. I mean, I really can't."

The Minnesota Democrat made news last week as one of the only lawmakers to slam Comcast at a congressional hearing on Wednesday.

The cable giant is mounting an enormous lobbying push in favor of the merger on Capitol Hill.

Executive Vice President David Cohen, a major Democratic donor, told senators that the deal will improve the quality and reliability of Comcast services.

He also promised that the corporate marriage will not raise prices on consumers.

"I can make you and the members of this committee one absolute commitment, which is that there is nothing in this transaction that will cause anybody’s cable bills to go up," Cohen said.

Franken replied that Comcast benefits from the loosening of rules that govern money in politics.

"I think Comcast does give money to people who support them. Not necessarily to buy their support, but yes, I really don't like the role of money in politics," Franken said.

He also argued the merger will give Comcast too much power over how to package television content.

The major media companies are "afraid of retaliation" from Comcast and not speaking up against the plan, Franken said.

"They think they are committing business suicide by, you know, that they'll be retaliated against, and that shows you what's wrong here," he said.

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