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House Vote On DTV Delay Bill Probably Not Until Wednesday

According to a spokesperson for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), a vote on a bill to delay the DTV transition date probably will not come until Wednesday. And even then, the bill will likely have to go back to the Senate for a re-vote on some small changes, according to a Hill source.

The Senate version of a bill to change the date from Feb. 17 to June 12 passed Monday. That bill is still expected to be debated in the House "on suspension" Tuesday night, said Hoyer spokeswoman Katie Grant, which means limited debate, no amendments, and a two-thirds majority rather than a simple majority is required for passage. Grant said she expects the bill will pass.

But the debate probably won't come until 8 or 9 p.m., after general debate on the economic stimulus package.

The Senate re-vote would be over some language "tweaks," as the House source put it, related to technical fixes in budget language and a change in the public safety language. But budget and emergency communications are key issues with Republicans.

The $64,000 question is whether Senate Republicans agree those are only tweaks. One indicator would be how many Republicans wind up voting for the House version.

If the tweaks are only that, the Senate could substitute the House bill for its version, approve it, and it would be off to the president's desk for signing. Since he proposed moving the date, that is a pretty safe bet.