President Obama wants to delay the long-announced, long-planned, long-desired-by-first-responders transition from analog to digital television broadcasts. By replacing the old, large-bandwidth-consuming NTSC standard with the new, sharper, narrow-bandwidth ATSC, we create lots of room in the radio spectrum for other broadcasts, including those by firefighters, police, and other public safety workers.
However Obama wants to delay it for a few months, claiming that people aren’t ready. This despite the fact that anyone with cable or satellite is unaffected, vouchers for free set-top boxes have been around for months, and every broadcast station has been warning about the transition. The President thinks we’re idiots, it seems.
No matter, the Senate agreed and passed a bill implementing his wishes unanimously. On it went to the House for another easy pass? Not so fast. Democrats got confident and tried to do a quick-and-easy passage according to the suspension of the rules procedure. That procedure bypasses the normal process but requires a supermajority vote.
The Obama delay bill did not get that supermajority vote. It got a majority, but to pass notwithstanding the rules it needed significant Republican support. 258-168 was the final vote, but 290 were needed for passage.
Let’s cheer the House Republican Caucus for a job well done. He won. He doesn’t need us, remember?