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Hill Retrans Fans Respond

A pair of House Energy & Commerce Committee members are circulating a "dear colleague" letter arguing that the retransmission consent process is a business-to-business negotiation between private parties and that, free from political pressure, the FCC will come to that conclusion.

The letter, from Rep. Gene Green (D-Tex.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) according to a copy obtained by Multichannel News, comes in the wake of one last week from another bipartisan pair of reps Steve Israel (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY), who were seeking their colleagues' signatures on a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski asking him to launch a rulemaking on reforming retransmission consent (

In fact, Green and Blackburn reference that letter and say they wanted to provide "some additional perspective," which amounted to counseling the FCC not to take sides and remain neutral.

The FCC is currently considering a petition filed by cable, satellite and telco operators, among others, to make changes to the system including outside arbitration and standstill agreements during impasses.