Senate Committee Drops Media Provisions From Pentagon Bill

Oct 7, 2004  •  Post A Comment

In a major victory for broadcasters, Senate sources late Thursday said lawmakers in conference committee for the Department of Defense authorization bill have stripped all of the media-related provisions from the legislation, including a new GOP-backed compromise that would have raised the cap on indecency fines to $500,000.

According to the sources, the lawmakers made their move after Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., made clear he would fight to include a controversial provision in the package that would bar the Federal Communications Commission from relaxing its media ownership rules.

Sen. Dorgan’s media ownership provision is opposed by House Republican leaders and the White House, so GOP lawmakers had hoped to limit the amendments in the defense bill to a package of indecency provisions that most legislators support. “[Sen. Dorgan] wouldn’t let it go alone,” one source said.

Said Barry Piatt, a spokesman for Sen. Dorgan, “If their choice was to protect conglomerates who are buying up everything rather than to protect children from indecency, it’s a pretty poor choice, and they’re the ones who made it.”