By the time you read this, members of the US House of Representatives will be back on their way to work. The first day of business on the schedule for 2008 is 1/15/08. The Senate is scheduled to kick off the second session of the 110th Congress next week, Tuesday 1/22/08. Both chambers will have the usual truncated sessions typical of election years, which usually include a great deal of pressure to conclude as much official business by the end of July or earlier as those facing re-election challenges turn their attention to their home districts or states.
The good news, and it’s usually the news, is that broadcast issues are not on the radar as far as the mainstream press is concerned. Iraq and the economy will as usual be front-line issues, and any issue which either party thinks it can highlight for election purposes will come to the fore whether or not it has any chance whatsoever of actually becoming a law.
Both houses have pending legislation to shoot down the FCC’s split-vote approval of easing restrictions on media cross-ownership in the top 20 DMAs. That, and the ever-mounting pressure to tie up all loose ends in advance of the 2/17/09 DTV conversion should be the hottest items of business on the broadcast agenda this session.