News Articles

Senate Vetoes FCC's Broadcast-Ownership Rules

9/15/2003 10:02:00 AM Eastern

The Senate Tuesday morning voted 55-40 to approve a "legislative veto" of the
Federal Communications Commission’s relaxed broadcast-ownership rules.

The effort -- led by Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and
Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) -– which would invoke the rarely used congressional
authority to nullify new agency rules may be largely symbolic because House
leaders are refusing to allow a similar measure to come to a vote.

President Bush's aides are also threatening a veto of any rollback of the
FCC's new rules.

The National Association of Broadcasters was among the industry trade groups
lobbying against the Senate measure Monday.

In an appeal for members to contact their senators, the NAB called the
proposal a "meat ax" that would do away with deregulatory measures its members
like in addition to ones they hate.

The measure would return the national TV-ownership cap to 35% of television
households, a measure they like, but would also kill deregulation NAB members
have pursued for years, such as relaxed limits on local TV duopolies and
broadcast/newspaper cross-ownership.

Consumer and activists groups, on the other hand, were full of praise. "This
vote demonstrates the power of the grassroots," said Eli Pariser, campaign
director for The Senate Tuesday morning voted 55-40 to approve a "legislative veto" of the
Federal Communications Commission’s relaxed broadcast-ownership rules.

The effort -- led by Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and
Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) – which would invoke the rarely used congressional
authority to nullify new agency rule may be largely symbolic because House
leaders are refusing to allow a similar measure to come to a vote.

President Bush's aides are also threatening a veto of any rollback of the
FCC's new rules.

The National Association of Broadcasters was among the industry trade groups
lobbying against the Senate measure Monday.

In an appeal for members to contact their senators, the NAB called the
proposal a "meat ax" that would do away with deregulatory measures its members
like in addition to ones they hate.

The measure would return the national TV-ownership cap to 35% of television
households, a measure they like, but would also kill deregulation NAB members
have pursued for years such as relaxed limits on local TV duopolies and
broadcast/newspaper cross-ownership.

Consumer and activists groups, on the other hand, were full of praise. "This
vote demonstrates the power of the grassroots," said Eli Pariser, campaign
director for MoveOn.org, a group formed to fight the Clinton impeachment
proceedings that has moved on to new causes. "Millions of people have contacted
Congress to voice their opposition. Now the Senate has demonstrated that it's
listening."

March