FAIRNESS DOCTRINE FIGHT REACHES SENATE FLOOR…. Before the Senate can vote on whether to give D.C. residents a voice in Congress, Senate Republican Steering Committee Chairman Jim DeMint (S.C.) and Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman John Thune (S.D.) had a not-at-all-related amendment for the chamber to consider.

The Senate voted Thursday in favor of an amendment to the District of Columbia voting-rights bill that would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from reinstating the so-called Fairness Doctrine, which critics say would decimate conservative talk radio.

The Senate passed the measure 87-11.

So, to review, the Senate today approved an amendment to a bill about D.C. voting rights prohibiting the FCC from bringing back an old broadcast policy that the FCC wasn’t considering and which the Obama administration does not support. Congress at its finest.

But since it passed overwhelmingly, at least we won’t have to hear the right complain about this anymore, right? If only it were that simple. The measure would still have to be approved by the House, which isn’t interested in holding a vote.

In response to the DeMint/Thune measure, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) proposed “a rival amendment that he said essentially reaffirmed existing law, which calls for the FCC to encourage diverse media ownership.” It passed 57 to 41. Despite the fact that Durbin’s measure simply re-stated current law, every Republican in the Senate voted against it.

DeMint told reporters that Democratic efforts to legally encourage diverse media ownership open a “back door to censorship.”

I have no idea what DeMint is talking about. Come to think of it, neither does he.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.