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SHORT ITEM 03/23/98 WASHINGTON, D.C.-- A provision which would have prohibited the FCC from requiring broadcasters to provide free air…

SHORT ITEM

03/23/98

WASHINGTON, D.C.– A provision which would have prohibited the FCC from requiring broadcasters to provide free air time to congressional candidates was struck from an international relief bill in mid-March.

The decision followed objections from several congressional reform interest groups, who argued in a public statement that such FCC action is the best option for campaign finance reform available in the immediate future.

The provision was supported by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), who have argued that the FCC does not have the authority to establish such a measure.

President Clinton has supported legislation requiring broadcasters to give reduced rates, but not necessarily free time, to political candidates. McCain told journalists after the committee meeting yesterday that the provision was dropped because he feared Clinton would blame Republicans for holding up disaster aid by inserting the FCC provision that cause him to probably veto the bill. (S. 1769)