Sixty percent of the U.S. Representatives passed a bill to delay the DTV transition (the vote was 258-168), but passage required a two-thirds majority, so the bill failed (story here).
A similar bill has already been approved by the Senate (story here).
Though the House bill was voted down, Democrats are already vowing to revive the subject; they expect to bring it up again in a legislative circumstance that will require a simple majority vote.
The delay is being sought by the Obama Administration because there are millions of consumers still demonstrably unprepared for the transition, there are 3 million people who want coupons for converter boxes but can’t get them because the program to provide them ran out of money, and there are still technological problems, specifically erratic terrestrial signal coverage, which has barely been acknowledged, let alone addressed.
The key opponent of the measure is Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who claims a delay will cause consumer confusion and objects that the delay will delay the handover of spectrum to emergency responders.
The latter objection has yet to be verified. It appears Barton is referring to the D block of spectrum, which still hasn’t been auctioned off and couldn’t be allocated to emergency services after Feb. 17, whether the digital transition is delayed or not.