Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee today dropped an effort to defund a new Federal Communications Commission rule that will make political ad data available on the Internet. The FCC rule, which was OKed by the commission earlier this year and is expected to go into effect sometime this summer or fall, would require TV stations to put detailed records on political ad buys on a new Web site. The files are currently public but are kept on paper at stations. The broadcast industry has vigorously fought the rule. Earlier this month Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., chair of an appropriations subcommittee, added an amendment to a bill that would have blocked the FCC from using any funds to implement the transparency measure.
The defunding amendment passed the subcommittee on a party-line vote. The maneuver to defund the transparency rule attracted media attention and sparked outrage from outside public interest groups and Democrats. But in a full committee hearing this morning, the Republicans backed down. Emerson offered a new amendment that removed the defunding language.