WASHINGTON (AP) - The CEOs of AT&T and Time Warner are telling Congress that the merger of the two media and communications giants will benefit Americans and boost competition in cable, rather than quash it.

The skeptical head of the Senate antitrust panel examining the proposed $85.4 billion deal says the tie-up could restrain competition.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said Wednesday in prepared testimony that, "Together, AT&T and Time Warner will disrupt the entrenched pay-TV models, giving customers more options, creating more competition for cable TV providers and accelerating deployment of 5G wireless broadband."

Stephenson and Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes are making their case before the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, saying that the deal will lead to new innovation, and that it will better serve consumers.

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