The Senate Strikes Back: The Latest on the Battle with the FCC
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) and the Senate Commerce Committee he chairs vote to reauthorize the Federal Communications Commission is currently slated for Thursday, June 26, 2003. However, the panel voted yesterday, Thursday, June 19, to overturn the relaxed regulations the FCC passed earlier this month.
The FCC voted to increase the cap to 45% on June 2, during its revamping of the current broadcast and media rules. The 3-to-2 vote went along party lines with FCC Commissioner Michael Powell and the two other Republicans on the Commission making up the majority.
The Senate Commerce Committee voted to return the cap to 35%, to disallowed the cross ownership of newspaper and television stations in the same market and to force ABC and Viacom to divest their interests to come into compliance with the cap.
McCain is also sponsoring a bill to extend the time between FCC media-ownership reviews and clarity that the commission has the authority to tighten and or relax ownership rules.
Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC) has also stepped into the fight, stating that if the Senate Commerce Committee’s actions do not pass in Congress, that he will put a rider on an appropriations bill.
“The FCC with this order has turned the people’s public interest commission into an instrument of corporate greed,” said Hollings.