Senate Dems want hearing on FCC chair's response to Trump's NBC threat

Senate Dems want hearing on FCC chair's response to Trump's NBC threat

Senate Democrats are calling for an oversight hearing for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) following President Trump’s threats against media outlets' broadcast licenses last week.

Democrats on the Senate Commerce Committee sent a letter Tuesday to the panel’s top members, calling out FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for waiting so long to address the president’s statements.

“The FCC Chairman’s failure to quickly respond and denounce these threats is shocking and raises questions about the ability of the FCC to truly act independently under Chairman Pai’s leadership,” the letter reads.

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The group was led by Sens. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzDem senator: 'Stop pretending' law banning separation of migrant families is hard to pass Hillicon Valley: Judge approves AT&T-Time Warner deal in blow to DOJ | Dems renew push to secure state voting systems | Seattle reverses course on tax after Amazon backlash | Trump, senators headed for cyber clash | More Tesla layoffs Dems question FCC's claim of cyberattack during net neutrality comment period MORE (D-Hawaii), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOvernight Energy: Spending bill targets Pruitt | Ryan not paying 'close attention' to Pruitt controversies | Yellowstone park chief learned of dismissal through press release Senate committee targets Pruitt scandals in spending bill Overnight Energy: DNC to reject fossil fuel donations | Regulators see no security risk in coal plant closures | Senate committee rejects Trump EPA, Interior budgets MORE (D-N.M.) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Health chief grilled on Trump drug pricing plan, ObamaCare case Health chief: Decision not to defend ObamaCare in court not a 'policy' position Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — VA reform bill heads to Trump's desk MORE (D-N.H.).

Last week, the president suggested on Twitter that media outlets that have been unfair to him should have their broadcast licenses revoked.

Pai broke his silence on the issue Tuesday, saying that his agency “does not have the authority” to revoke licenses for an outlet’s content.

“I believe in the First Amendment. The FCC under my leadership, will stand for the First Amendment,” he said at an event.

In their letter, the Democrats say the fact that Pai waited six days before addressing Trump’s proposal is “inexcusable.”

“It is imperative that FCC Chairman Pai and his fellow Commissioners address this Committee and respond to the President’s stated desire for regulatory abuse of his perceived critics through the FCC,” the letter reads.

Trump tweeted last week that NBC’s broadcasting license should be challenged and potentially revoked after it published a story that said he had called for the nation’s nuclear stockpile to be increased by a factor of 10.

“With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!” Trump tweeted in response.

“Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!” he wrote in a separate tweet.

Trump’s tweet immediately drew criticism from both Democratic and Republican politicians.