The chairman of the House Energy Committee is pushing to broaden the terms of the pending indecency bill to include fines against individuals.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The chairman of the House Energy Committee is pushing to broaden the terms of the pending indecency bill to include fines against individuals.

The Senate and House versions of the bill increase indecency fines for broadcast stations tenfold -- to $275,000 per incident for first-time violators. Commerce chairman Rep. Joe Barton, R- Texas, is pushing for a measure that would allow the Federal Communications Commission to fine individuals, such as on-air talent and recording artists, as much as $500,000 for indecent programming.

The indecency bill is an amendment to the Department of Defense (DOD) Reauthorization bill. The Senate voted 99-1 in June to include that bill as an amendment to a massive Pentagon funding bill.

It is unclear when the DOD bill will be taken up. Congress has little time left before early adjournment. Senate and House leaders are saying that with so much unfinished business still on the table, lawmakers may have to return to the Hill to finish up in a lame-duck session after the Nov. 2 elections.

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