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McDowell BacksCongressional Look At FCC Merger-Review Process

Senior Republican FCC
Commissioner Robert McDowell gave a shout-out Wednesday to a pledge by top
House Republicans to review the FCC's merger-review process.

In his statement on the
Comcast/NBCU vote, he said the FCC review process was too coercive as well as
too lengthy.

Asked what he thought of
the prospects for congressional review of that process, he said: "That is
a healthy debate to have. It is healthy to have a discussion on what the FCC's
authority should be in future merger reviews."

House Republicans Fred
Upton (R-Mich.), Greg Walden (R.-Ore.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.) said Tuesday that
they will be "examining" the FCC's transaction review process in the
wake of the conditioned approval of the Comcast/NBCU joint venture.

Upton is chair of the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee, while
Walden chairs the Communications Subcommittee and Terry is vice chair.
They supported the Comcast/NBCU deal approval, but are concerned about the
network neutrality conditions in particular, since they strongly opposed the
FCC's vote last month to implement new network neutrality regs and are
looking to overturn them.

McDowell voted to approve
the deal, but only concurred with the decision, which means he supported the
underlying decision to grant the joint venture, but had some problems with the
process and conditions imposed, including network neutrality conditions. He
voted against the FCC network neutrality rules, which passed on a straight
party line vote Dec. 21.