Senate Commerce Committee Postpones Hearing on FCC-Blocking Bill

Blames Inoyue's Health, Not Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez's Letter, for Delay

The Senate Commerce Committee postponed an April 2 hearing at which it had planned to consider a resolution to block the Federal Communications Commission's decision in December to loosen the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban.

The hearing was to have considered that among a half-dozen items, but the committee said in an e-mail to reporters that the hearing was rescheduled for April 24 at 10 a.m.

A source maintained that the postponement had nothing to do with the push-back from the Bush administration -- Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez wrote chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) asking the committee not to overturn the FCC rule, saying that he would advise the president to veto the resolution if it passed.

Instead, said the source, the chairman, who is 83, is "a little under the weather" after a fact-finding trip to Israel last week and three recent trips to his home state of Hawaii.