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Senate KO's McCain Amendment to Speed DTV Transition

The Senate this week killed an attempt by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to bump up the proposed April 7, 2009 analog shutoff date.

McCain, who previously failed to persuade the Senate Commerce Committee to establish a 2007 analog sunset, likewise failed to convince the full Senate to move it to 2008. The amendment was voted down 30-69 during debate on the budget reconciliation bill of which 2009 is a part.

"Today's overwhelming 69-30 vote in the Senate represents a victory for millions of Americans who could have been left stranded by a premature end to analog television service," said NAB President Eddie Fritts in a statement. "Now that a firm date for ending analog TV is settled, NAB will work to ensure that all consumers have access to the full benefits of digital and high definition television."

After the vote on McCain's proposal, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nevada), withdrew his amendment to reduce the digital-to-analog converter subsidy program from $3 billion to $2 billion, according to published reports.