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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Mixed Messages From House Vote "Against" Online Freedom of Speech Act; Hastert Sees Second Vote

Yes, the bill failed because under House rules a proposal brought forth under a suspension of the rules must receive a two-thirds majority in order to be approved. This measure - introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX - received 225 votes in favor and 182 against, or less than the required two-thirds.

But, as Hensarling quickly pointed out on RedState.org, the bill clearly enjoys the support of a strong simple majority of the House and the outlook is favorable because Hensarling has been told by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert that he will support bringing the bill back up on a regular rule. That means a simple majority will pass the proposal.

If the House does act again and pass the proposal, it will still be necessary for a Senate version to be approved and then a House-Senate conference committee to work out the differences between the two. Once that happens, the final version can be voted on and, if approved by both chambers, sent to the President for signature or veto.

In other words, the story is far from over for the Online Freedom of Speech Act of 2005.

But take a look at who in the House voted how on the proposal. A massive majority of the Republicans, 179, voted in favor of exempting the Internet from campaign finance regulation of political speech. On the other side of the aisle, a clear majority, 143, voted against exemption.

Bottom line: The conservative majority of the House GOP favors the First Amendment and freedom of political speech. The liberal majority of the House Democrats favor bureaucrats regulating the First Amendment and political speech.

UPDATE: Sceptic's Eye Puzzled, Perceptive

Allison Hayward, who probably knows more about the FEC and the Internet than anybody else in the Blogosphere, wonders what Pelosi, Waxma and other prominent House Democrats who voted against the proposal see as advantagous in their position. Hayward believes the ethics issue is the Democrats' sacrement that must not be diluted. Go here.

UPDATE: Beltway Blogroll Counts the Blogs in House Debate

Beltway Blogroll's Danny Glover thinks bloggers still lack concrete clout in the major public policy debates but he has no doubt bloggers are making themselves heard in the U.S. House of Representatives. He's got the numbers to prove it, too.