RE: Poker Bill Passes Committee (3)

(Democrats and) Republicans supporting Payment Systems Protection Act

by , Sep 18, 2008 | 8:40 am

Barney Frank (image: PokerOnAMac.com)

We’ve all learned, through poker, quite a bit about the American legislative process … not just how cutthroat and pernicious it can be, but also about the long road of baby steps it takes for a (good) special interest — like poker — to get the theoretical majority of a state or nation to see things our way.

Not to over-celebrate a bill’s passing through committee (especially when it was originally expected to pass through that gate in June), but concerned poker citizens and the Poker Players Alliance deserve some big kudos for the progress, as the squeaky wheels are finally being heard, for better or for worse:

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is once again bringing up a bill this Tuesday to overturn the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). That makes eight bills that seek to dismantle the UIGEA, and countless hearings. No other issue, except perhaps the war, has garnered so much attention from the Democratic leadership. To find the reason for this sudden regret over the bipartisan bill Congress enacted, one simply needs to “follow the money.”

And that comes from people opposed to any poker measures — the United Conservatives of Virginia. Of course they know not what of they speak — that the UIGEA was not a bipartisan bill, but a skillful display of Republican dirty tricks. (There’s video evidence to prove this, too, so I can’t imagine the Go-UIGEA side really wanting to bring this up.)

And lest we think HR 6870, the Payment Systems Protection Act, isn’t bipartisan — it’s certainly Dem-friendly — there are plenty of Republicans out there who are getting tired of Focus on the Family politics … and in part because of them, now efforts to undo the UIGEA are being embraced by those who understand this entire area of legislation — money and the internet — is about way more than just poker …

From DCRepublican:

Very rarely will I say this, but I have to give Chairman Frank a great deal of credit for fighting this battle. In my opinion, the UIGEA is a piece of legislation that should have never been passed in the first place. But courtesy of a very Grasslean maneuver by Bill Frist, who inserted the bill in the dead of night just before recess packaging it as part of the SAFE Port Act, Congress now finds itself with an extremely important bill that nobody seems to understand (sound like Grassley and the Housing Bill?).

Dick Armey

Perhaps the best thing to come out of this expansion of discourse … two non-poker groups are now on board, encouraging their members to petition Congress for this bill’s passage. One such .org is FreedomWorks, led by Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX). He sees the UIGEA as an infringement on internet freedom and privacy, and HR 6870 as the way to right the course.

NetFreedomForever (apparently bankrolled by FreedomWorks) also deserves credit for helping convert some of the previous naysayers on HR 5767 into yaysayers on the compromise bill, HR 6870.

I can only suspect that congresspeople, upon hearing support from non-poker people, began to really think about what we’ve been saying all along. And in the eyes of the non-poker people, this issue is time-critical … because if we don’t pass it now — like in the next 10 days — then Congress will go into recess and before returning to session next year, the enforcement provisions of the UIGEA will actually be put into effect, further mucking up all sorts of online payment systems … not just poker.


3 Comments to “RE: Poker Bill Passes Committee (3) ”


  1. Mulry
    says:

    Another reason to push for passage now is that if Congress recesses for the year without getting a final act through both the Senate and then finalized in the conference committee version, then all this work will be for naught. The end of this year is the end of the 2-year congressional term and as I understand it, bills that have been passed out of committee but which have not received final passage do not carry over into the next term. Which means they’d have to start all over again next year.

    Of course, most of my legislative knowledge comes from Schoolhouse Rock, so I might be wrong.


  2. Kevin Mathers
    says:

    That would be correct, the hope at this point is for this to be put into some sort of must-pass legislation (sound familiar)?


  3. DanM
    says:

    That’s the plan, and the timing seems more right than wrong — hello, um, banking crisis?

    Trying not to get my hopes up, however. I remember back in Texas when we cleared this hurdle and had the floor votes lined up, only to not get to it before the schoolbell rang.