Washington (DC) - On Wednesday evening, the U.S. House passed the bill to delay this nation's analog to digital TV switchover. The new date moves from February 17 to June 12. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature -- which is expected later today -- before it becomes law.
The vote, 264-158 is very similar to the previous vote (and here) which failed to pass at 258-168 due to its two-thirds majority requirement. This new vote required only a simple majority. The Senate had previously voted to pass the bill unanimously on January 27, 2009.
The acting FCC Chairman, Michal Copps, said in a statement:
"It has long been clear to me -- and it's even clearer since I became acting FCC chairman two weeks ago -- that the country is not prepared to undertake a nationwide transition in 12 days without unacceptably high consumer dislocation. The additional four months provided by the law affords urgently-needed time for a more phased transition."The president was an original proponent of the delay. It is likely that by day's end, this delay will be law -- and just 12 days before the mandatory switch would've happened.
Well, the drama is over. At least until we approach June that is. It's possible that timeframe could see a whole new set of delays being pondered. Personally, I think the Congress made a big mistake on this one. If they really intend to ever make the switch, it should've happened as scheduled. The government spent how many months getting the "tax refund checks" out to its citizens? I'm sure they could've done something similar with the funds necessary to honor currently unfunded coupons.
See the Schoolhouse Rock video, How a Bill Becomes a Law.