GOP Leaders Gain Upper Hand on Ownership Rules

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The Bush administration and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) are getting the upper hand in their fight to preserve the FCC’s newly relaxed broadcast-ownership rules. A vote on a measure to roll back the FCC’s 45% national TV-ownership cap has been delayed by partisan bickering on the Senate floor over judicial nominations and Bush’s economic policies.

With the clock ticking and lawmakers eager to adjourn for the year, Frist’s desire to roll the spending bill containing the anti-FCC measure into a larger catch-all money bill for many government agencies appears more likely.

At the moment, the FCC rollback is contained in a bill appropriating funds to the FCC, Commerce, Justice and State Departments. A Frist spokesman Tuesday said he expects the larger omnibus spending bill to come to the Senate floor for a vote next week.

Frist wants the spending bills combined because the maneuver will give him more say to eliminate measures he opposes—including the FCC rollback.

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