Spencer Bachus Expected To Replace Barney Frank In The House

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:
Spencer Bachus

Online gambling’s biggest ally is expected to be replaced by the industry’s most outspoken opponent.  With the Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives as projected by CNN as of 9:15 pm EST, Alabama Congressman Spencer Bachus would probably be named the new Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, currently chaired by Barney Frank.

Bachus has been in staunch opposition to legalized online gambling, including Internet poker.  Frank has attempted to pass legislation that would license and regulate the multi-billion dollar industry within the United States.

Frank did push through a measure to legalize the activity in the House subcommittee, however, he has expressed doubt that any further action would be taken during the brief lame duck session. 

“I’m not optimistic”, Congressman Frank said just a few weeks ago, noting that the cramped House floor schedule does not allow for such a measure to be voted on at this time.“There was some discussion over there to step up the pace.”

A Senate Democratic aide indicated to the Hill that it is highly unlikely the bill will move before the election. The staffer did say there is a small chance it might move in the lame-duck session as an attachment to a jobs bill.

Frank himself was in a closer than expected race to keep his seat.  Regardless of whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid retains his seat in Nevada, he will still be overseeing the Senate through the remainder of this year and has indicated he might help Frank pass his legislation. 

Bachus taking over the House Financial Services Committee chairpersonship is the last thing that the online gambling sector would want.  He has routinely attempted to obstruct efforts to legalize such activity in the United States. 

Republican committee members and two Republican aides confirmed to MSNBC that Bachus should take over Frank’s position, however, there has been some well-publicized opposition to Bachus assuming that role among his own party. 

In 2008, as the senior Republican on the financial services committee, Bachus was removed from his role after failing to properly oversee the Troubled Asset Relief Program (originally a $700 billion bailout). 

Frank’s role, though diminished, will likely still be important.  After all, Bachus, as a minority member of the House, has been a thorn in the side of online gambling interests for the better part of two years. 

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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