The House late Thursday voted 249 to 179 to approve an amendment introduced by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) that would have defund the salary and expenses of FCC Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd, along with other "czars" the Republicans said the administration had installed in positions of power that did not require congressional confirmation.
Though Lloyd was not named, Scalise characterized the post during floor debate on the amendment as a "fairness doctrine czar" and a threat to free speech
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is on the record rejecting reimposition of the doctrine, which required broadcasters to seek out opposing viewpoints on issues of public importance.
The FCC had no official comment, but a senior official who asked not to be identified did come to his defense.
"As Congress recognized when it directed the FCC to promote diversity in communications, diversity is important to American prosperity and its strength as a nation," said the source. "For more than 18 months, Mark Lloyd has helped the Commission pursue this Congressional objective, contributing on many important initiatives - like working to bridge the digital divide by increasing broadband adoption among hard-pressed Americans...."
The amendment is attached to the continuing resolution, the stop-gap appropriations bill that must pass March 4, when the old CR expires, if government programs and operations are to continue to access funds.
The Republican-backed bill would cut $100 billion, including funding for the FCC's implementation of network neutrality rules and funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. There are close to 600 amendments being introduced.
The president has threatened to veto the bill.