FCC Critics Score on National TV-Cap Rollback


Lawmakers trying to roll back the Federal Communications Commission's national cap on TV ownership apparently scored a big victory over their leaders and the White House Wednesday night.

Senate and House negotiators hashing out which provisions will be included in a catch-all spending bill Congress is scheduled to pass before Thanksgiving break agreed to include a measure that would return the cap to 35% of TV households, said a staffer for Sen. Byron Dorgan. The North Dakota Democrat is a sponsor of the measure.

Capitol Hill leaders are under the gun to get a vote agreed to retain the rollback after Dorgan promised not to push a separate measure that would reverse the FCC's decision to let media companies own broadcast stations and newspapers in the same market.

President Bush has threatened to veto any legislation reversing the FCC's recent broadcast deregulation and House Majority Leader Tom Delay and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist had angled to eliminate the national cap rollback, which has been inserted into the spending bill by the Sen. Ted Stevens, Dorgan and others on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The full House and Senate are expected to vote on the omnibus spending bill in the next few days.