COPE Updates from the Commerce Committee Session

Posted on April 26, 2006 - 12:57pm.

Update 4.27 - 2:00pm EST:
A Bad Day for Media Democracy

We've posted a voting scorecard for COPE. NATOA has also put out a scorecard of the vote on each amendment. Please continue to send your emails to Congress!

"Today, consumers won yet another decisive victory with committee passage of the video choice bill." - Verizon Lobbyist Peter Davidson

Despite the Telco spin above, the passage of COPE in the House Commerce Committee on Wednesday will have a devastating impact on public interest issues in telecommunication policy. Today, years of consumer protections and rules regulating industry ethics were either setback or summarily ignored.

The House Commerce Committee, by an unsurprising vote of 42 to 12, passed the COPE Bill. The Bill will now move to the full House for a vote. It's likely that the Bill's sponsor, Rep. Barton, will lobby hard to prevent additional amendments in the full House version of the Bill. In the 42 to 12 final vote, the only Republican to vote against COPE was Heather Wilson, Democrats voting for the COPE Bill were Boucher, Towns, Pallone, Brown, Gordon, Rush, Stupak, Engel, Wynn, Green, Strickland, Davis, Gonzalez, Inslee and Ross.

Among the casualties today were these amendments;

1) Anti-Discrimination Amendment
An amendment to a national video franchising
bill that would prevent discrimination of service based on race, religion, sex, or national origin. The amendment was defeated 29-23.

2) Build-Out Amendment (Red-lining)
An amendment that would have set build-out requirements for new franchisees under a national video franchise scheme being considered by Congress. Defeated 29-22, introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)
A weaker amendment passed, but since it set no timetable provisions concerning 'build-out', it will be nearly impossible to enforce - nice planning!.

3) Baldwin Amendment
An amendment that would detail and preserve Public, Educational, Governmental Access Channel (PEG) provisions. Defeated 20-19 (estimate)

4) The Markey Amendment
An amendment supporting and protecting Net Neutrality was voted down by a vote of 34 to 22.

Recent News
Save the Internet press release: House Ignores Public, Sells Out the Internet

B&C's article: House Commerce Approves National Franchise Bill

B&C's article: Telecom Bill Gets Cable-Friendlier

FAIR's article: Saving Independent Media

National Journal article: Democratic Amendments Fail To Fly

SF Gate article: Panel dumps Net neutrality

( categories: HR.5252 COPE )