Sen. Dorgan will attempt “roll back” of FCC’s media consolidation rule

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) said he would invoke the seldom used “Congressional Review Act” to try to roll back the new FCC media ownership rules.

Dorgan, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, said he would introduce his resolution of disapproval as allowed by the Congressional Review Act. “These new rules are wrong headed and will result in more consolidation and less competition in broadcasting,” Dorgan said. “That’s why I believe we should overturn these rules.”

Dorgan noted that the Senate Commerce Committee voted on June 19 to roll back major portions of the new rules, and did so on a bipartisan vote. “The ‘Congressional Review Act’ gives us another opportunity to stop these rule changes,” Dorgan said.

He will introduce his resolution after the FCC publishes the new rules in the Federal Register, Dorgan said. After the introduction, he said, the Commerce Committee will have 20 days to vote on his resolution. If the committee has not acted by then, a vote on the Senate floor can be forced by a petition signed by 30 senators.

Dorgan is attempting to bypass House Commerce Committee chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.), who supports the FCC’s new ownership rules and has vowed to block efforts to reverse it in the House.

Another strategy being considered is for Sen. Ted Stevens, the Alaska Republican who heads the Senate Appropriations Committee, to merge FCC rollback legislation into an essential appropriations bill. This way it would be harder for Tauzin to block approval. It was Stevens with Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC) that co-sponsored the original Senate legislation that would reverse the FCC’s new ownership rules.

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