Dingell: Spectrum auctions might be a 'shot in the brains' for broadcasters

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) expressed strong concerns about a proposal to offer incentives to broadcasters to auction off TV airwaves. 

Dingell raised doubts about the "voluntary" nature of the proposal, endorsed by the Federal Communications Commission, the Obama administration and various members of both sides of the aisle. 

"Sounds like a bank holdup to me," Dingell said during an Energy and Commerce hearing on Wednesday. "If you don't give me this money, I am going to shoot you in the brains."

Testifying before the panel, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski replied: "Only if the free market is a bank holdup."

Auction proponents want broadcasters to relinquish their spectrum so it can be used by wireless companies, instead.

The plan has faced concern from the broadcasters, who say they want fair compensation and to make sure the auctions are truly voluntary.