Senate Panel Kills McCain Amendment

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The Senate Commerce Committee Thursday voted 17-5 to kill a proposal that would have shut down analog broadcasting in the United States April 7, 2007. Instead, the panel voted 19-3 for an April 7, 2009, deadline.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), sponsor of the defeated amendment, ran into opposition from Senate Commerce Committee chairman Ted Stevens (R-Ariz.), who said McCain’s plan would have prevented the committee from meeting mandated budget targets, including raising at least $4.8 billion from TV-spectrum auctions.

McCain pushed for the 2007 date in an effort to transfer some of the analog-TV spectrum to fire, police and emergency crews that need to update their mobile communications when responding to terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

“I think there is one thing more important than money, and that’s lives,” McCain said prior to the vote, adding that the 9/11 Commission urged Congress to free up spectrum for public-safety groups.

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