DTV Transition Still In Limbo
Here we go again.
The House will have another chance to pass a bill to delay the television transition next week. Yes, the same bill the House defeated Wednesday.
On Monday, the Senate first passed a bill to postpone the switch from Feb. 17 to June 12.
But on Wednesday, House Republicans blocked the bill from getting the two-thirds majority needed to pass under the rules applied to the legislation, even though the majority of lawmakers voted in favor of the delay. The rules, which allow little debate and no amendments, are used to speed up the process when legislation is expected to pass easily.
Senate leaders and Democratic members of the House made it clear how disappointed they were that the legislation did not pass. So, Thursday night the Senate passed the same bill that had failed in the house by unanimous consent. That allows the bill to go back to the House floor for a vote, this time under regular rules. That means it will only need a simple majority to pass, instead of a full two-thirds majority.
But under regular rules, House Republicans will be free to add amendments to the bill. In that case, even if the House passes it, the bill will have to go back for Senate approval. That would add even more time to the process. In addition, the Senate may not like the amendments added by the House, and the bill could die.
And the clock is ticking. There are only 18 days left until the digital transition is scheduled to happen.
January 30, 2009; 5:30 PM ET
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