Bush Budget: $302.5M for FCC


The Federal Communications Commission would receive $302.5 million to regulate cable and other media companies under the fiscal-year-2007 budget unveiled Monday by the Bush administration.

Last year, the White House proposed $304 million in FCC spending, but Congress later pruned that to $289.8 million in the spending bill finally enacted into law. The FCC budget is a tiny fraction of the $2.77 trillion the federal government intends to spend in fiscal 2007, which begins Oct. 1.

The five-member FCC -- based in an office complex in southwest Washington, D.C., near the Jefferson Memorial -- has about 2,000 workers, and it is independent of Congress and the White House, although the president is allowed to appoint up to three commissioners from his party.

Congress and the White House approve the FCC’s budget, but the agency is almost entirely funded -- 99.7%, according to FCC spokesman David Fiske -- by fees collected from the industries it regulates, a revenue method Congress authorized in 1993 that currently includes 2,200 companies with business before the agency.

According to the most recent statistic, cable operators are required to pay $46.8 million in FCC regulatory fees -- 72 cents per subscriber. Cable fees represent about 16% of the commission’s budget.