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Tauzin: Leave FCC alone

House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) Wednesday urged
lawmakers to reject legislation that would freeze the TV-ownership cap and
remove the Federal Communications Commission's authority to set a new number.

The bill, sponsored by Reps. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and John Dingell
(D-Mich.), is aimed at dissuading the FCC from its June 2 vote on
broadcast-ownership deregulation.

The FCC is expected to hike the cap on one company's audience reach from 35% of TV households to 45%.

"This review is not an option," Tauzin said in an open letter to his House
colleagues. "It is an obligation to undertake a serious review of the regulatory
standards -- without presupposing the outcome -- to respond to changes in the
broadcast industry so that the commission's rules reflect today's world, not
that of 50 years ago. Do not take away the FCC's ability to do its job," he
said, noting that the review is mandated by the 1996 Telecommunications Act and a
court order.

Later that day, Tauzin called on the FCC to stop dawdling and release a
long-delayed order on access to telephone facilities.