Dorgan to Use CRA Against FCC


Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) said Wednesday that he would invoke a little-used
law in an attempt to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s new
broadcast-ownership rules.

The FCC adopted the rules at a June 2 public meeting and formally released
them Wednesday afternoon. Release of the rules triggered Dorgan's decision to
invoke the Congressional Review Act in a bid to block the FCC's deregulatory
moves from taking effect.

"These rules are wrong-headed and will result in more consolidation and less
competition in broadcasting. That's why I believe we should overturn these
rules," Dorgan said in a prepared statement.

Under the new rules, the "Big Four" networks are allowed to own more TV
stations, and local TV stations and newspapers may combine in the same market
for the first time since 1975. Media companies may also own two TV stations in
most markets and three in the largest markets.

The CRA, passed in 1996, gives Congress the power to overturn major rules
adopted by regulatory agencies before they take effect. In early 2001, Congress
used law successfully for the first and only time when it killed
workplace-ergonomics rules crafted by the Clinton administration's Labor

Dorgan said he would begin the process required under the CRA next week when
the Senate returns from the Fourth of July holiday.