House Votes to Curtail FCC Powers, But Obama Hints at Veto
The U.S. House of Representatives today passed HR 3309, the FCC Process Reform Act of 2012. The act, as it is written, would limit the Federal Communications Commission's ability to draft rules or block transactions. In order to have any sort of effect on transactions, the FCC would have to "analyze the specified market failure, actual consumer harm, burden of existing regulation, or failure of public institutions that warrants the rule or amendment; and determine that the benefits justify its costs." The FCC has recently flexed its muscle by blocking the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile acquisition and asserting net neutrality rules. The House is controlled by Republicans, however, and the Democrat-led Senate will likely not approve the bill. Additionally, the Obama administration argued the bill "would harm the Federal Government's ability to promote the most effective competitive outcome in any given transaction involving communications firms." The bill is on its way to the Senate, but there's no indication when the Senate will vote on it.
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