Yesterday we also learned that Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) together have introduced new legislation specifically designed to block the federal government from finalizing regulations for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The new bill, H.R. 5767, has but one, specific purpose, namely, to stop the Secretary of the Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from forcing banks to implement the UIGEA.
As yesterday’s press release from the House Financial Services Committee (which Frank chairs) puts it, the proposed bill forbids the feds “from proposing, prescribing, or implementing any regulation that requires the financial services industry to identify and block internet gambling transactions.” Says Frank, “These regulations are impossible to implement without placing a significant burden on the payments system and financial institutions, and while I do disagree with the underlying objective of the Act, I believe that even those who agree with it ought to be concerned about the regulations’ impact.”
That last point was demonstrated persuasively in last week’s House hearing, “Proposed UIGEA Regulations: Burden without Benefit?” That hearing ultimately provided an overwhelming, hard-to-refute argument against finalizing the UIGEA regs, and it is clear Frank and Paul’s bill has appeared as a response to the hearing.
The actual bill is wonderfully succinct. It’s no Gettysburg Address, but Frank and Paul get to the heart of the matter right away. I quote it in full:
To prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from proposing, prescribing, or implementing any regulation under subchapter IV of chapter 53 of title 31, United States Code, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. PROHIBITION.
The Secretary of the Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, whether acting jointly or separately, may not propose, prescribe, or implement any regulation under subchapter IV of chapter 53 of title 31, United States Code, or otherwise give effect to such subchapter or any such regulation, including the proposed regulations published in the Federal Register on 6 October 4, 2007.”
And that is that. If H.R. 5767 were to pass through the House and Senate -- a possibility that seems much more real to me at this moment than does the idea of Frank’s IGREA or other bills working their way up the Congressional ladder -- it will be very interesting to see what happens once it lands on the President’s desk. Could a Bush or McCain veto the sucker? If not, the way would certainly be paved for the IGREA to be more seriously entertained. (Whether that is a good thing or not is another issue altogether.)
In any event, a mighty interesting little intersection of poker news here this morning.