Republicans Ask for Delay to DTV Vote

In a last ditch effort to keep the Feb. 17 digital TV transition deadline, Republican lawmakers asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tuesday (Jan. 27) to call off the vote on the bill to delay the DTV transition until June 12.

The DTV delay bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent late Monday.

In a letter to Pelosi dated Tuesday, Jan. 27, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) asked Pelosi not to bring the Senate bill to the House floor under a suspension of the rules.

“Further delaying the DTV transition deadline will confuse consumers without clearing the waiting list, jeopardize public safety and wireless broadband spectrum, cost broadcasters and industry a fortune in additional preparations, and engender further spending of at least $650 million in the stimulus package to pick up the pieces,” wrote Barton and Stearns.

As an alternative, Barton introduced a bill last week that would authorize $250 million to allow the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to immediately begin distributing coupons. The NTIA ran out of funds in early January, which forced it to put 2 million consumers on waiting list and prompting Democratic lawmakers to call for a delay.