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McCain seeks sat bill blend

Final vote likely in October

WASHINGTON — Senate Commerce Committee chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) is taking his congressional colleagues to task for failing to hammer out the differences between the House and Senate proposals to allow satcasters to provide local broadcast channels.

Although both the House and Senate have passed legislation that would change current law to allow satcasters to provide local channels, the separate proposals must be combined into a single bill before it is sent to President Clinton, who is expected to sign it into law.

Senate conferees “should be prepared to meet in conference to move this process forward. I, for one, am not only prepared but impatient to do so,” wrote McCain.

One key difference between the two bills is a House proposal that would force broadcasters to give their signals to DBS companies. Broadcasters support the Senate version of the bill, which does not include the provision.

Many in Congress had hoped to resolve the issue before legislators break for summer vacation in two weeks. It now appears that a final vote will not be held until October.

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