After achieving a bipartisan compromise, members of the U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation that would delay by four months the nationwide transition to digital television (DTV) and the discontinuance of analog television services. On Wednesday, Republican opponents blocked similar legislation in the House, thus casting doubt on its passage prior to the current analog cut-off date of February 17. Sponsored by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), the bill adopted in the Senate on Monday contains provisions sought by ranking committee member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and by other Senate Republicans. In addition to postponing the DTV conversion date from February 17 to June 12, the modified bill would allow broadcasters that are ready to shift to complete the transition process prior to June 12 for the purpose of enabling public safety entities to obtain access to analog channels that are designated for their use. The bill would also (1) extend the NTIA coupon application deadline from March 31 to July 31, (2) permit consumers with expired DTV converter box coupons to reapply for new coupons, and (3) direct the FCC to extend by 116 days the license terms of wireless entities that won vacated analog television spectrum in last year’s 700 MHz auction. Thanking Rockefeller for his efforts in addressing Republican concerns, Hutchison said the amended version of the DTV Delay Act approved by Senate lawmakers “will help consumers whose coupons have expired and allow TV stations that are prepared, and ready, to move forward without the requirement of simulcasting.” Meanwhile, on Wednesday, House legislation prescribing a similar four-month delay failed to win enough votes for passage under fasttrack rules, handing Republican opponents at least a temporary victory. Although the measure was adopted by a margin of 258 to 168, expedited voting rules in the House require a two-thirds majority, and Republicans voted overwhelmingly against the bill to ensure its blockage. Arguing that a change in the analog cut-off date would confuse consumers, House Republicans favor alternative legislation that would retain the current DTV transition date and that would waive provisions of the Anti-Deficiency Act to allow the NTIA to immediately resume distribution of converter box coupons. Writing to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) after Wednesday’s vote, ranking House Energy and Commerce Committee member Joe Barton (R-TX) proclaimed, “the DTV transition program is neither stuck nor broke.” Complaining that “valuable time” has been wasted, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) vowed to work with congressional leaders “to explore all available options.”