Thursday, 20 May 2010

Ways and means hearing

The opening statement for the Republicans in yesterday's hearing into the mooted McDermott Bill, had the California senator Wally Herger question the need even to have a hearing on Internet gambling.

“Given the fact that just four years ago the House voted overwhelmingly – 317-93 – to ban Internet gaming , I have to ask why we are even holding this meeting when so many other more pressing issues confront us,” he said.

The bit he seems to have forgotten is that the 317-93 vote was in favour of the Safe Ports Act, onto which the UIGEA was tagged at the last moment. The vote wasn't a vote against internet gambling at all - certainly not by 317-93 - but a vote on a bill aimed to protect the United States against terrorism, which few were ever going to vote against.

I have no idea what the vote would have been had it been on UIGEA alone, and had UIGEA been properly debated. Who knows, it may have been a bigger majority. But it would seem less disingenuous to accept that no proper debate on this issue has yet been had, and then to have it.

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