Senate blocks digital TV delay
WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans on Friday blocked a bill that would have delayed next month's nationwide shutdown of analog TV signals until June 12, but Democrats vowed to bring the measure back for a vote next week.
The bill was defeated even after President-elect Barack Obama on Friday urged lawmakers to postpone the Feb. 17 transition amid mounting concerns that too many Americans who rely on analog TV sets to pick up broadcast channels won't be ready. Obama called for a delay largely because the federal program that subsidizes converter boxes for those viewers hit a $1.34 billion funding limit this month.
But some Senate Republicans fear a delay would confuse people and burden public safety agencies waiting for wireless spectrum that will be freed up by the switchover. The opponents also said a delay would be costly for television broadcasters that have spent several years preparing for the analog shutoff.