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Rockefeller Still Pushing DTV Date-Only Bill

With the House DTV-delay bill on hold for the moment, all eyes are turning to the Senate version, which so far has not moved due to Republican opposition and a Senate calendar backed up by the dust-up over Senator Hillary Clinton's nomination to Secretary of State, according to a Hill source.

Both DTV bills would move the DTV transition date from Feb. 17 to June 12, but the Senate version would stop there, while the House bill gets into money for DTV-to-analog converter box coupons, speeding delivery of those coupons, reclamation of analog TV spectrum by wireless companies and more.

According to an aide to the Senate bill's author, Jay Rockefeller (D-WVA), "Senator Rockefeller is working with the leadership of the Commerce Committee to work out whatever problems there may be. He would not handicap a time frame, but obviously the bill has a deadline of Feb. 17, since that is the current date."

The Rockefeller bill remains simply a date-change. "The consensus from our side," said the Rockefeller aide, "is let's move the date first. Let's give ourselves some breathing room here for the Obama administration to get a better sense of what is happening."

When we get to the point where the bill passses the Senate and goes over to the House, I'm sure that Chairman Rockefelller will work with Chairman [Henry] Waxman [of the Energy & Commerce Committee] to produce a very clean bill.

He emphasized that Senator Rockefeller was not necessarily saying don't do the other things contained in the House bill. "He's saying that we need time to figure out all these moving pieces and make sure they are headed in the right direction."