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State Group Seeks Appeal of Phone Case

March 20, 2004|James S. Granelli | Times Staff Writer

Nineteen members of California's congressional delegation, from conservative Republicans to liberal Democrats, asked the Federal Communications Commission on Friday to appeal a court's reversal of telephone competition rules, adding their voices to the intensifying battle over the court order.

In a letter sent Friday to the FCC, Republicans such as Dana Rohrabacher and Ed Royce joined Democrats like Howard A. Waxman and Maxine Waters to urge the FCC to seek Supreme Court review of the decision by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

"We believe the rules enacted by the commission were fair, balanced and consistent with the Telecommunications Act of 1996," which ushered in competition for local service, the congressional members said.

The 19 members of the California delegation join leaders of the Senate committee overseeing the FCC and the House Judiciary Committee. Also, Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), head of the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department and FCC budgets, asked the agency to appeal.

Meantime, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, leaders of the House committee overseeing the FCC and a group of legislators have asked that the FCC and the government not to appeal the case. They support the position of Baby Bells like SBC Communications Inc., which argue that the court was right to reverse rules that allow competitors to lease Bell equipment at regulated wholesale prices.

White House aides have been meeting this week to decide whether to intervene and, if so, on which side.

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