Rep. Waters hopes to force FCC to extend NBC-Comcast comment date

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and 49 other House members are hoping to compel the FCC to extend the period during which the public may comment on the proposed mega-merger of Comcast and NBC.

The bloc of lawmakers, comprised primarily of Congressional Black Caucus members, introduced a bill Wednesday that would force the FCC to accept input from citizens, lawmakers and interest groups for another 45 days after the commission's original deadline of May 3.

The congresswoman's request arrives a day after she wrote FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in support of a 45-day extension, stressing more time for input is "necessary and in the public interest." Already, the FCC has turned down a previous request to elongate its public comment period filed earlier this month by a handful of public interest groups.

“Comcast is already the nation’s biggest cable and Internet provider, and its acquisition of NBC Universal’s vast broadcast, cable and online businesses and other holdings raises concerns,” Waters said in a statement accompanying Wednesday's bill.

“Everyone who watches TV or uses the Internet – in other words almost every American – will be affected by this merger, so I want to make sure that individuals and public interest groups are allowed to file comments before the FCC completes its review,” she added, noting groups such as Free Press, Consumers Union and Public Knowledge also support an extension.

Both the FCC and Comcast declined to comment on the congresswoman's bill late Wednesday.

Nevertheless, her effort is unlikely to progress to the president's desk: Floor debate over the proposal and votes in both chambers would likely require more than the 17 days between now and the deadline she hopes to push back.