Jan 28, 2009
In a surprising defeat, House Republicans today beat back legislation pushed by President Barack Obama that would have delayed the transition from analog to digital television broadcasting by four months.
The move comes just a day after the Democratic-controlled Senate unanimously passed a measure to delay the switchover from February 17 to June 12 to give the 6.5 million U.S. households (according to The Nielsen Company) that don't have digital TV sets time to buy converter boxes.
Broadcasters had opposed the delay, complaining it would cost an estimated $22 million to continue airing shows in both analogue and digital for an additional four months. To assuage them, the bill would have allowed stations to make the change before the new deadline if they permitted public safety agencies to use the vacant airwaves as soon as it became available. (Congress in 2005 voted to switch broadcast signals from analog to more efficient digital to free up so-called "white spaces," areas of unused wireless spectrum, for commercial wireless services and interoperable emergency-response networks.)
Sep 17, 2008 | 4
In response to soaring fuel prices, the Democratic-controlled House last night passed an energy package that would allow offshore drilling for the first time in 26 years.
The measure, which passed by a 236-to-189 margin along party lines, would lift a ban on offshore drilling in place since 1982 and allow companies to drill for oil and gas 50 to 100 miles out to sea.
Conservationists have vehemently opposed drilling near U.S. coasts because of its potential to pollute the oceans and disrupt the ecosystem. But they have offered little criticism of the bill. "The lack of complaints from environmental groups about this sham Democratic bill is a telling sign," Michael Steel, an aide to House Minority Leader John Boehner, told Politico. "It’s the dog that didn’t bark."
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