Move to fast-track DTV delay fails in the House
A move to suspend the rules of the House in order that the DTV Delay Act would be brought to the floor immediately, was defeated minutes ago. Although a majority voted in favor -- 258-168 -- a two-thirds majority of aye voters is necessary in order to pass a suspension of house rules.
As a result, the bill will not be fast-tracked, though it has yet to face total defeat. Rather, it must now be processed in the usual manner by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Its ranking member, Rep. Joe Barton (R - Texas), led the fight against the rules suspension and is currently against the bill.
Two weeks ago, outgoing Sec. of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez advised Congress against a delay of the February 17 transition date. With the new leadership of that department still to be determined, its NTIA administration, according to the Associated Press, is going ahead with plans drawn up under the previous administration to expedite the printing and distribution of new coupons redeemable toward the purchase of converter boxes. If all goes as planned, those coupons will continue to list February 17 as the transition date, and their expiration date will be based on that milestone. It was the NTIA that on January 4 set up the waiting list for applicants who claim not to have received coupons.