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Defying a White House threat, the U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to block federal rules that loosen limits on media industry mergers. The Senate voted 55-40 to veto Federal Communications Commission regulations that critics say could lead to rapid consolidation and ultimately suppress independent and local viewpoints. Twelve Republicans, including Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, sided with a vast majority of Democrats in favor of the veto. Approving the so-called resolution of disapproval, a rarely used congressional procedure, dealt another blow to the controversial regulations, which now move to the House for consideration. Leaders of that chamber back the effort to deregulate the media sector and have vowed to block the veto. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., who supports another measure that would overturn much of the FCC’s rules, said he believes the likelihood of it succeeding in the House are minimal at best. But Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who introduced the veto last week, said he thinks the majority of House lawmakers support the veto and are continuing to pressure that chamber’s leadership to consider the rules. “If the House votes on the measure it will pass overwhelmingly,” Dorgan said at a press conference after the vote. The rules, which would have gone into effect Sept. 4, have been placed on hold by a federal appeals court. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Monday denied a motion by network operators to transfer the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. That court handled previous legal challenges to the federal media regulations. �Copyright 2003, The Deal, LLC. All rights reserved.

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