• Share
  • Read Later
President Clinton has denounced it, Disney's buyout of ABC may have foreshadowed it, and thelong-distance telephone and cable companies are lobbying furiously to make it the law of the land. After midnight Thursday, the House is expected to pass a major telecommunications reform package that could transform the marketplace, freeing cable-TV and local and long-distance telephone companies to get into each other's businesses. Critics, including the President, worry that such massive deregulation would encourage media firms like Disney to merge into near-monopolies. "They're taking it up in the middle of the night, when there's no one to listen to the debate, no one around to view, no one to report on it," one Democratic Senate staffer told TIME's Suneel Ratan. A similar measure has already cleared the Senate. Clinton promises a veto.