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NLC-backed cable bill gets strong House vote; bipartisanship helps cable measure, but veto still looms.

Bipartisanship helps cable measure, but veto still looms

Despite a White House veto threat and a multimillion dollar lobbying campaign by the cable industry, the House last Thursday passed and sent to the Senate NLC-supported cable legislation by an overwhelming, bipartisan vote.

The 280-128 vote, with one member voting present, sent a strong community message to the White House, but fell six short of the level necessary to override an expected veto by President Bush if the full House votes. Twenty-three House members did not vote.

The Senate was expected to vote as early as last Saturday after the Weekly went to press and send the final House-Senate conference report to the White House.

The legislation would give cities and towns a powerful tool in combatting the anti-competitive practices of the cable industry--a virtual monopoly in almost every city and town in the U.S. The bill would regulate basic rates through set prices based upon comparable prices of service in communities.

NLC President Glenda Hood urged all city officials to contact the White House to urge President Bush to sign the bill and to keep up pressure on their Congressional delegations to assure an override of the expected veto:

"The House vote is a fine testimony to the leadership of Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass), and Reps. Chris Shays (R-Conn) and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn). We, and the citizens we represent, owe them a vote of thanks. And we owe them our strongest efforts to ensure this measure becomes law.

"For nearly five years, we have worked with the Congress to assure that cable rates are fair and affordable to our citizens. The House vote demonstrates how effective we have been. Now we need to devote the final, full measure."

The legislation approved by the conference committee requires the Federal Communications Commission to set a price for basic cable television service. The commission would have to set its price based on several factors, including comparing the price of basic cable service in areas where there is competition. That could result in cable fees dropping by as much as 30 percent.
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Title Annotation:National League of Cities
Author:Ferrera, Anna Pulido
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Sep 21, 1992
Previous Article:Finally, urban aid action appears close; down to the wire, Bradley, Bentsen push for passage.
Next Article:NLC policy process offers variety of ways to participate.

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