Senate Panel to Vote on Overturning FCC Rules on Media Ownership

Mar 27, 2008  •  Post A Comment

A Senate panel slated a vote on whether to recommend overturning a decision by the Federal Communications Commission to loosen media ownership rules.
The Senate Commerce Committee today announced it will consider legislation Wednesday April 2 from Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., to overturn the FCC change.
The FCC voted in December to allow newspapers and broadcasters to buy each other in a market under certain circumstances. While the rules change would generally allow the purchases in top markets and generally disallow them in lesser markets, it grants the FCC easy ability to make exceptions.
Mr. Dorgan has called the rules change “arrogant” and “in disregard of the public interest” and introduced a “resolution of disapproval” that is co-sponsored by 13 other senators including Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Barack Obama, D-Ill, and John Kerry, D-Mass., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.
Rarely used authority lets Congress overturn agency rulemakings within 60 congressional work days after an agency promulgates them, but successfully overturning the rulemakings isn’t easy. While a favorable committee vote is likely-a number of the resolution’s sponsors are on the committee–overturning the FCC would require votes by the House and Senate and the president’s signature, with the latter being pretty unlikely.
Mr. Dorgan mounted a similar bid to overturn the FCC in 2003 after former FCC Chairman Michael Powell offered a broad rewrite of FCC ownership rules. The Senate voted to overturn the rule, but the House, then under control of
Republicans, never voted.
The rules were eventually overturned by an appellate court. A House vote is more likely this year, but any Congressional action could face a presidential veto.
(Editor: Baumann)

One Comment

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