House moves to overturn FCC ownership rules

More than 190 members of Congress have signed a letter that asks House Speaker Dennis Hastert, (R-Ill.), to bring to a vote a resolution that would overturn the FCC’s new media ownership rules.

On September 16, the Senate passed by a margin of 55-40 a “resolution of disapproval” under the Congressional Review Act that would nullify the recent FCC rules changes. If the Houses does the same, all of the new ownership rules will be prohibited from going into effect.

However, the resolution's chance of passage in the House has been considered dim due to strong resistance from Reps. Billy Tauzin, (R-La.) and Tom DeLay, (R-Texas), both staunch supporters of the FCC’s Republican majority.

Last week, Rep. Maurice Hinchey, (D-N.Y.), said House proponents of a roll back of the FCC ownership rules have won the support of almost half of their congressional colleagues to bring the issue to a vote. Hinchey said he expects more than 200 of the House’s 435 lawmakers to sign the letter before it is forwarded to the House speaker.

The goal of the movement is to bypass leadership opposition by getting 218 House members to support a “discharge petition,” which would kill the new FCC rules.

Rep. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.) predicted the votes are now available to overturn the FCC. “This issue gets to the heart and soul of whether the United States remains a vibrant democracy in which people are able to hear and see diverse points of view, or whether a handful of large media conglomerates control the flow of information,” he said.

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