Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) tells C-SPAN in an interview slated for Monday night that he expects the House version's Dec. 31, 2008, deadline for the cut-off of analog service and the switch to digital TV will be delayed.
According to C-SPAN., when asked about the transition and the amount of money the Republican-backed first-come, first-served set-top box subsidy would cover, about 10 million out of a possible 20 million households or more, Market says: "My best is that Republicans will back off...there will be a delay in the date to turn off analog TV sets in America..."
Markey has been one of the most vocal critics of the House-passed DTV transition bill. Unlike the bipartisan Senate version that allocates $3 billion to a subsidy that would cover everyone, the House version requiries viewers to actively seek out the subsidy, and would only put $960 million towards it.
The Senate bill also sets an April 7, 2009, hard date.
When the House bill passed in October, Markey argued that it was an attempt to save tax cuts on the backs of the poor by returning most of the spectrum auction receipts—anywhere from $10 billion to perhaps as much as $30 billion—to the treasury rather than sufficiently funding the subsidy first, which would primarily benefit the poor and elderly.
Without a subsidy covering everyone, he said at the time, the January 2009 hard date would be untenable.