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Katrina Knocks DTV Legislation to Back Burner

Sep 7, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Digital TV legislation has been put on indefinite hold while federal lawmakers focus on Hurricane Katrina’s disastrous aftermath.

“[DTV legislation] is on hold,” Sen. Stevens, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, told reporters Tuesday in an impromptu hallway interview. “We’re not going to get involved in any kind of legislation that is not related to this disaster until we can figure out that we have enough in place to recover from it.”

Lawmakers had been hoping to complete DTV legislation in the House and Senate by Sept. 16 to have their measures included in a massive budget reconciliation bill. But lobbyists said it is increasingly unlikely that lawmakers will meet the DTV legislation deadline because the Senate is also expected to be focused on President Bush’s nomination of Judge John Roberts to succeed William Rehnquist as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

During House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings on Hurricane Katrina relief Wednesday morning, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who has been leading the charge on DTV legislation in the House, announced that he plans to fly back to Texas soon, as his wife expects to give birth to a boy “any day now.”