Republicans urge FCC chair to avoid 'controversial items'

Republicans urge FCC chair to avoid 'controversial items'
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Republican lawmakers and Federal Communication Commission (FCC) officials are urging FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to not take action on "controversial items" during the presidential transition.

"I strongly urge the FCC to avoid directing its attention and resources in the coming months to complex, partisan, or otherwise controversial items that the new Congress and new Administration will have an interest in reviewing,” Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneWant to improve health care? Get Americans off of their couches More Dems want focus on job creation than wage growth Google, Apple, Amazon execs to testify at Senate privacy hearing this month MORE (R-S.D.) wrote Tuesday in a letter to Wheeler.

“Any action taken by the FCC following November 8, 2016, will receive particular scrutiny,” the GOP lawmaker added.

In a joint letter, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) similarly wrote that doing so "would be counterproductive."

They noted that Wheeler’s focus should be on ensuring “a successful broadcast incentive auction,” an initiative to encourage interested airwave license holders to sell their rights to other parties who want to transmit.

A statement from FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai praised the letters from Thune, Upton and Walden.

Commissioner Mike O’Rielly also urged Wheeler to heed "the will of Congress in setting aside any remaining controversial agenda items for the next Congress and Administration to consider."

Letters from the lawmakers and commissioners invoked calls in 2008 from then-Sen. John RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Overnight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term MORE (D-W.Va.) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) for the the FCC to avoid addressing complex items.

According to Pai’s letter, the FCC chairman at the time, Kevin Martin, adhered to the request.

Wheeler’s office confirmed Tuesday that they had received and were reviewing letters from Congress, but declined to comment further.