Dem senator slams GOP's request to FCC chair

Dem senator slams GOP's request to FCC chair
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Sen. Edward MarkeyEd MarkeyBiden's FDA nominee advances through key Senate committee Overnight Energy & Environment — Manchin raises hopes on climate spending Warren, Democrats ask federal government to resume tracking breakthrough cases MORE (D-Mass.) on Wednesday blasted GOP calls for Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler to avoid action on “controversial items" until the new administration.

"Blind and visually impaired individuals will suffer because Republicans and their allies on the Commission will not allow a vote to expand the amount of video-described programming available,” Markey said in a statement Wednesday.

"Small business, universities, hospitals, and public safety organizations will suffer because Republicans and their allies on the Commission won’t allow a vote on business data services," he said.

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The FCC on Wednesday pulled several items from its open meeting agenda for Thursday, including pricing plans for business data services –– special access lines which businesses use to transfer large amounts of data –– and implementing video accessibility measures for visually impaired consumers.

The changes came after several Republicans sent letters to Wheeler on Tuesday asking him to not tackle "complex" or "controversial" issues in the FCC during the presidential transitional.

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSinema scuttles hopes for filibuster reform How a nice-guy South Dakota senator fell into a Trump storm Democrats: Don't reject GOP offer to fix electoral count law MORE (R-S.D), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) urged the FCC chairman to hold off. 

Thune has criticized Wheeler, accusing him of turning the FCC into a partisan organization and taking controversial regulatory positions on key issues like White House-backed net neutrality. Such issues have been a point of division between Wheeler and GOP lawmakers and Republican FCC commissioners.

The lawmakers's requests invoked the previous request of Democrats in 2008 who asked then-FCC Chairman Kevin Martin to avoid controversial issues during the transition from George W. Bush to Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaCould the coming 'red wave' election become a 'red tsunami'? Bottom line Barack Obama wishes a happy 58th birthday to 'best friend' Michelle MORE.

GOP Commissioners Ajit Pai and Mike O’Rielly praised the request to Wheeler on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Wheeler’s office said that they were reviewing the letters and declined to comment.

Updated: 5:45 p.m.