House defeats digital TV delay bill

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The House of Representatives defeated the digital TV delay bill with a 258-168 vote that failed to secure the two thirds needed for passage. The vote closely followed party lines with 155 Republicans voting against the bill and 22 Republicans voting for it. Amongst House Democrats, 236 voted for the bill and a mere 13 voted against it. The defeat signaled a win for House republicans who have opposed the delay, claiming the four month delay would further confuse consumers, cause an unnecessary delay for companies and public safety agencies waiting for the spectrum to be released and burden TV companies with the additional cost of broadcasting both analog and digital signals during the four month delay. The defeat is a setback for the Obama administration and congressional democrats who believe that the current resources to assist people in the digital TV transition are in a state of disarray and are concerned that the public, particularly poor, rural and low-income Americans, will not be adequately prepared when the analog air waves are turned off on February 17th. The Obama administration and congressional democrats still claim to be exploring all options to secure another vote on this issue.

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