House Launches FCC-Blocking Effort

A House version of a Federal Communications Commission-blocking legislative maneuver was introduced.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) already introduced his version, with high-profile backers including Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

Like Dorgan's effort, the House version is a "resolution of disapproval" that would prevent the implementation of the FCC's Dec. 18 decision loosening the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban to allow combinations in the top 20 markets, subject to some conditions. "“We need to use every tool available to prevent further weakening of media-ownership rules," said chief sponsor Jay Inslee (D-Wash.).

Co-sponsors so far are reps. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).

Dorgan attempted a similar blocking bill when the FCC passed more deregulatory rules back in 2003, but that effort was stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate and eventually mooted by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals' stay and remand of the rules.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.