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.

The group was led by Sens. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzOvernight Energy: Warren bill would force companies to disclose climate impacts | Green group backs Gillum in Florida gov race | Feds to open refuge near former nuke site Warren wants companies to disclose more about climate change impacts Congress just failed our nation’s veterans when it comes to medical marijuana MORE (D-Hawaii), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallTrump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Senate Dems want DOJ review of Giuliani's work for foreign entities McCain's former chief of staff considering Senate bid as Democrat MORE (D-N.M.) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanHouse panel advances DHS cyber vulnerabilities bills Chris Pappas wins Democratic House primary in New Hampshire Overnight Health Care: Manchin fires gun at anti-ObamaCare lawsuit in new ad | More Dems come out against Kavanaugh | Michigan seeks Medicaid work requirements 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.