Washington -- Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) is holding a
hearing Tuesday (March 14) as the first step in an effort to pass legislation designed to
rein in the Federal Communications Commission with respect to corporate mergers.
Tauzin, chairman of the House Telecommunications
Subcommittee, is a vocal critic of the FCC's merger role, saying on several occasions
that the commission's unwillingness to act in a timely manner has damaged the
interests of merging parties.
Tauzin spokesman Ken Johnson declined to be specific about
the legislation, expect to say that it would borrow provisions contained in bills
previously introduced by Reps. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Chip Pickering (R-Miss.).
"We are combining the best features of both as part of
Billy's effort to reform the FCC," Johnson said. "The idea is to move
quickly to a markup."
In general terms, the bill would limit the FCC's
merger-review authority and place strict time limits for action on pending merger
requests. The bill would also require the agency to fully explain its rationale for
rejecting a merger.