Sources: McCaskill Withdrawing Cable Bill Amendment

Likely To Get Assurances Committee Will Keep Eye On Issue
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According to multiple sources, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is expected to withdraw her amendment to a Senate Commerce Committee Satellite reauthorization bill (STAVRA) that would have put cable operators feet to the fire on customer service.

The amendment, which was unveiled Tuesday (Sept. 16), would have:

1. Directed the FCC to update customer service guidelines for cable operators.

2. Make clear the FCC has the authority to enforce those guidelines if the local franchising authority (LFA) doesn't.

3. Directed the FCC to establish customer service guidelines since they are not subject to LFA's or state of local jurisdictions.

4. Would have granted the FCC the authority to prevent unfair or deceptive acts or practices, similar to the Federal Trade Commission's authority.

According to one source, McCaskill has agreed not to offer the amendment or ask for a vote, likely in exchange for assurances from the committee that it will look more closely at the issue. She may also announce other action she is taking in the cable customer service, billing arena.

In June, McCaskill, who is chair of the Consumer Protection Subcommittee, launched a site where consumer could register their beefs with their pay TV bills, saying it was part of an effort to lay the groundwork for legislation.

Following an April hearing on satellite legislation, she took off on MVPD bills, saying she had discovered a high speed charge she was still paying even after it had become the baseline speed. When she called to ask why she was still paying extra, she was told it was because she hadn't called to change it. She did not identify the provider.