Barney Frank Out as Financial Services Committee Chair in 2011?
In November, voters in the United States will head to the polls for general elections. On Capitol Hill, the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate will be determined. If Republicans were to gain control of the House, then Congressman Barney Frank’s (D-MA) tenure as Financial Services Committee Chairman may come to an end.
A recent Financial Times article discussed the future of the lower Congressional body: “Polls show control of the House of Representatives is too close to call while the Democrats are expected to retain control of the Senate, albeit with a reduced majority.” Frank has been in the House since 1980 and served as the Financial Services Committee Chairman since 2007. Democrats currently control nearly 60% of the seats in the House and Senate.
Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-AL) serves as the Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, although he apparently seems far from a lock to take over the Chair should the opportunity arise. However, the Financial Times revealed, “Mr. Bachus said, ‘I will be the chairman if we’re in the majority.’ [Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)] said, ‘My expectation is that Spencer Bachus will be the next Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and I support him.’”
What’s the significance of this story for online poker players, you ask? Frank is internet gambling’s number one supporter on Capitol Hill, having offered up a handful of bills to legalize the industry in the United States. His latest effort, HR 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, was marked up in the Financial Services Committee in late July and has received the support of 70 co-sponsors.
HR 2267 received about a dozen amendments during mark-up, ranging from ensuring that online sports betting would not be legalized to prohibiting existing sites that serve the U.S. market “illegally” from applying for a license. Now, the measure awaits its time on the House floor, although HR 2267 being attached to a must-pass bill later this year is a possibility. Ironically, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was attached to an unrelated port security measure to become law in 2006.
Bachus remains one of the strongest opponents of legalized internet gambling. During HR 2267’s markup hearing on July 28th, Bachus opened the proceedings by arguing, “After all of the talk of the past year of shutting the casinos down on Wall Street, why would we take steps today to open casinos in every bedroom and every dorm room on iPods, Blackberrys, iPhones, and computers?”
In the meantime, HR 2267 has caused a rift of sorts in the poker community. The Commerce Casino’s Tom Malkasian was among those witnesses who spoke against the bill in a July 21st House Financial Services Committee hearing. In response, the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the industry’s main lobbying voice, issued an online petition to force the Commerce to change its position. The petition, found at PlayersBeforeProfits.com, has received over 7,000 signatures.
The Commerce Casino then fired back, arguing in a press release distributed in Friday, “Nevada casinos, offshore companies, and Washington insiders don’t want California to benefit from its own market. Our economic future is not their concern. We support free enterprise, fair competition, and the principle that what plays in California, stays in California.” The Los Angeles casino also claimed support from the Bicycle Casino, Hawaiian Gardens Casino, and Hollywood Park Casino.
Several poker pros have suggested a boycott of the Commerce Casino, although one has not yet occurred. The Bicycle Casino is fresh off hosting the World Poker Tour’s Legends of Poker, which saw Andy Frankenberger walk away with the title and $750,000 top prize.
Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest headlines from Capitol Hill and beyond.
Related Poker News:
- Rep. Barney Frank will introduce anti UIGEA bill Thursday
- Barney Frank Schedules Hearing to Discuss Internet Gambling Legislation
- Frank, Paul Introduce Bill to Prohibit UIGEA Enforcement
- House Financial Services Committee: Key Issues
- Rep. Frank Introduces Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act
- PPA to Rethink US Online Poker Campaigns
- Sports Lobby Against UIGEA Repeal
- House Financial Services Committee Meeting on Internet Gambling Wednesday
- Poker Players Bank on Frank
- Frank, Paul Advise Federal Agencies Not to Implement UIGEA Regs
- PPA applauds Frank on introducing sensible gaming bill
- US Congressman Barney Frank to the rescue
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