Bennett: No Performance Rights Passed This Year

Uncertainty over November elections means limited legislative agenda
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Outgoing Sen. Bob Bennett doesn’t think there will be any action on the performance rights issue this year.

The Utah Republican said during a congressional session at the Radio Show that the only bill that really needs to pass is a continuing resolution to keep the government running. Many lawmakers facing tough re-elections are focused on getting out of Washington and returning to their home districts to campaign, said Bennett, who is leaving Congress after not being selected to stand for office again by Utah Republicans earlier this year.

NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith, himself a former U.S. senator, warned that even a continuing resolution, or “CR,” can become a “Christmas tree,” with unrelated amendments tacked on by lawmakers. However, if the November elections see the Republicans take back one or both houses of Congress, a new Senate majority leader or speaker of the house “may insist on a clean CR,” so when they take office in January they can have a clean slate, Smith said.

Bennett warned that if either Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Majority Leader Harry Reid lose their positions, “They’re going to have a different agenda. It’s going to get really ugly.”

Smith added, “Ugly is good for our purposes,” meaning their focus would be on getting re-elected to Congress and not on performance rights.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who’s retiring from the House, spoke about NAB’s efforts to persuade the wireless companies and cell phone makers to put FM chips in their devices. He said it makes sense. But when questioned by an attendee about whether FM chips in cellphones should be mandated, he said before it gets to that point his bet is that Congress would tell the parties to try to work out their issues.

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