January 30, 2009

Obama planning to sign DTV delay bill

U.S. President Barack Obama will sign the digital broadcast conversion delay into law if the House of Representatives approves the bill as expected.

Word of Obama's support of the bill came from White House press secretary James S. Brady during a press briefing Friday.

The Senate voted on that last week and passed that delay, Brady explained. The House took the bill up under a suspension of the rules requiring two-thirds of those present supporting the bill. The bill passed with an overwhelming majority, but not with the necessary two-thirds. The Senate last night took the bill up again and passed it. I'm told that the House will vote next week. We anticipate that the House will pass a delay on DTV to June 12. If that gets to the president's desk, and when that happens, the president will sign that delay into law, so that we might undergo a little bit better planning process to ensure no interruption for people with televisions.

The measure was proposed to delay the planned Feb. 17 transition from analog to digital broadcasting for four months to give people more time to prepare for the switch by buying new television sets, signing up for cable or satellite service, or installing converter boxes on their old TVs.