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Senators oppose FCC plan to give candidates air time

Saying that the commission is acting beyond its authority, two key senators are trying to stop the Federal Communications Commission plan to require broadcasters to provide political candidates with free air time.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Conrad Burns, R-Mont., said Tuesday that they intend to attempt to attach an amendment blocking the FCC's plans to any emergency spending bill the Senate considers.McCain is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and Burns is chairman of the panel's communications subcommittee. Both have jurisdiction over the FCC.

The FCC is drafting proposals that would either require broadcasters to provide free time or to give deeper discounts on ads than they do now.

Broadcasters face the new requirements as a condition of getting a TV license or renewing one. The broadcasting industry opposes both proposals.