Dueling Legislative Priorities: LPFM vs. Translator

An interesting development on Capitol Hill seems to be stymieing the advancement of legislation to expand the LPFM service. Advocates have been working closely with congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) to craft a bill in the House of Representatives that would jibe with Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) Local Community Radio Act. The bill hasn’t been introduced yet because it needs demonstrable support from GOP representatives to be taken seriously, and no Republicans will co-sponsor the bill, although the ongoing grassroots recruitment effort is impressive.
Now comes a new complication: Slaughter has learned about the translator speculation and trafficking scheme that threatens to eat up space for new LPFM stations, and she’s pissed. So pissed, in fact, that she wants to include language in her LPFM bill that would deal with the translator issue pretty severely. The conventional wisdom suggests that the addition of such “polarizing” language – especially on an issue involving religious organizations – won’t help the effort to drum up GOP support for LPFM.
It has been suggested that Slaughter introduce two bills: one dealing with LPFM expansion and the other with the translator issue. For some reason there is reluctance to do that. Hence the search is on for another Democrat to sponsor a more modest LPFM bill that contains no translator language. The hope seems to be to find someone whose committee membership portfolio has leverage that might entice Republicans to support the legislation. No word on whether Slaughter will follow through with her own version.
There is something disconcerting about two important issues being forced to compete with each other in Congress, although it’s good to know both are being taken pretty seriously.