President-elect Barack Obama's transition team sent a second letter to Capitol Hill on Friday to re-enforce the push to postpone the nation's scheduled transition to digital-only television.
West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the new chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced legislation on Thursday that proposed postponing the transition till June 12 from Feb. 17.
House lawmakers are considering similar legislation and may schedule a vote as soon as next week.
We respectively reiterate that only legislation that includes a delay of limited and specific duration will provide Congress and the new Administration a realistic opportunity to resuscitate and modify the coupon program, Podesta wrote, adding that the Obama team urges immediate consideration and passage of Rockefeller's legislation.
Separately, the House Appropriations Committee recommended $650 million in new funds for the DTV transition.
We're pleased to see Congress moving so quickly on an issue that will affect millions of consumers, says Chris Murray, a senior lawyer with Consumers Union, which supports a delay.
The U.S. is currently scheduled to switch to digital-only television on February 17. Consumers make the change through a coupon program that is meant to help consumer who are strapped for cash. There are currently over 2 million consumers waiting for the coupon.
The government is offering $40 coupons to consumers to help cover the costs of set-top converter boxes that allow older TVs hooked up to antennas receive the new digital signals.