You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

GOP turns aside effort to roll back FCC regs

Senate Democrats cave to pressure from Republicans

WASHINGTON — The six-month congressional battle to roll back the Federal Communications Commission’s new media ownership rules is finally over.

Senate Democrats caved to pressure from Republicans and the White House Thursday after weeks of filibustering action on a mammoth $373 billion spending bill that also lowered a cap on the percentage of TV households one company can reach, from the FCC’s new 45% down to 39%.

Senators approved final passage of the measure 65-28 and the bill now awaits President Bush’s signature.

A bipartisan group of mostly Democratic opponents of the FCC rule wanted to tighten limits on TV station ownership much further — to the 35% cap that existed before the agency relaxed a host of media ownership rules early last June. They succeeded in attaching language restoring the 35% cap to spending bills that passed both houses of Congress.

But the White House was dead set against any effort to undo the FCC’s work and had threatened to veto any bill that tried to do so.

Late last year GOP leaders struck a deal with the White House without Democratic input changing the language in the final version of the bill to 39% — a level that would conveniently free Viacom/CBS and News Corp./Fox from being forced to sell off some of their TV stations.

Before the final vote Thursday, Democrats pleaded with Republicans to change the measure, then lambasted them for refusing to do so.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) accused Republicans of running an undemocratic process that ignored months of bipartisan negotiations and legislation passed in both houses. “This bill was constructed through a process that the Founding Fathers would be ashamed of,” she said. “It is troubling in a democracy that the executive branch is able to essentially usurp the authority of the legislative branch.”

The National Assn. of Broadcasting, which had lobbied hard for a return to the previous 35% cap, appeared happy the contentious debate was finally over. “We’re pleased the national television ownership cap issue appears to be resolved by the passage of this legislation,” NAB topper Eddie Fritts said in a statement. “We salute all broadcasters who worked with Congress to reach this compromise that recognizes the enduring value of free, local television stations.”

More Biz

  • get out Oscar Race

    'Get Out' Awards Category Dilemma: Film Defies Easy Labels, Cast Says

    WASHINGTON — The six-month congressional battle to roll back the Federal Communications Commission’s new media ownership rules is finally over. Senate Democrats caved to pressure from Republicans and the White House Thursday after weeks of filibustering action on a mammoth $373 billion spending bill that also lowered a cap on the percentage of TV households […]

  • David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman Mandeville

    Media Access Awards Honor Hollywood for Depicting People With Disabilities

    WASHINGTON — The six-month congressional battle to roll back the Federal Communications Commission’s new media ownership rules is finally over. Senate Democrats caved to pressure from Republicans and the White House Thursday after weeks of filibustering action on a mammoth $373 billion spending bill that also lowered a cap on the percentage of TV households […]

  • This, photo shows the 21st Century

    Sony Pictures Joins 21st Century Fox Hunt as Deal Talk Spreads Across Biz

    WASHINGTON — The six-month congressional battle to roll back the Federal Communications Commission’s new media ownership rules is finally over. Senate Democrats caved to pressure from Republicans and the White House Thursday after weeks of filibustering action on a mammoth $373 billion spending bill that also lowered a cap on the percentage of TV households […]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: Exclusive Premiere From Poo Bear and T-Bone Burnett; The Avalanches Hit The Slopes With North Face (Listen)

    WASHINGTON — The six-month congressional battle to roll back the Federal Communications Commission’s new media ownership rules is finally over. Senate Democrats caved to pressure from Republicans and the White House Thursday after weeks of filibustering action on a mammoth $373 billion spending bill that also lowered a cap on the percentage of TV households […]

  • India’s PVR Buys Stake in iPic

    India’s PVR Buys Stake in iPic U.S. Luxury Theater Chain

    WASHINGTON — The six-month congressional battle to roll back the Federal Communications Commission’s new media ownership rules is finally over. Senate Democrats caved to pressure from Republicans and the White House Thursday after weeks of filibustering action on a mammoth $373 billion spending bill that also lowered a cap on the percentage of TV households […]

  • Fusion Media Group

    Univision Seeking to Sell Minority Stake in Fusion Media Group

    WASHINGTON — The six-month congressional battle to roll back the Federal Communications Commission’s new media ownership rules is finally over. Senate Democrats caved to pressure from Republicans and the White House Thursday after weeks of filibustering action on a mammoth $373 billion spending bill that also lowered a cap on the percentage of TV households […]

  • Brett Ratner

    Brett Ratner Steps Down From Simon Wiesenthal Center Board Amid Sexual Misconduct Claims

    WASHINGTON — The six-month congressional battle to roll back the Federal Communications Commission’s new media ownership rules is finally over. Senate Democrats caved to pressure from Republicans and the White House Thursday after weeks of filibustering action on a mammoth $373 billion spending bill that also lowered a cap on the percentage of TV households […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content