04.25.2008 12:00 AM
Senate Panel Votes Against Martin Media Consolidation Plan
As previously threatened, the Senate Commerce Committee Thursday passed a rarely used resolution of disapproval in an attempt to strike down FCC rules that would ease restrictions on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership.

But the panel’s unanimous vote could end up being more symbolic than substantive. The measure still needs approval of the Senate, plus approval in the House, plus a signature from President George W. Bush, who would likely veto the bill.

“Today’s action by the Commerce Committee was a step in the right direction,” said Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, D-N.D. “Now I look forward to working closely with the Senators Reid and McConnell to get this placed onto the Senate schedule so we can pass this legislation and take a stand for more local ownership of newspapers and broadcast companies.”

The resolution has 25 cosponsors, including Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin has said that the December order would merely loosen the restrictions on cross-ownership, while his critics maintained that the order had enough loopholes to spark a major wave of consolidation.

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