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Port Security Bill passes in House and Senate: Internet prohibition attached

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Sep/30/2006

Port Security Bill passes in House and Senate: Internet prohibition attached Despite arguments in the House that the Port Security Bill failed to address concerns over rail and mass transit security and heavy objections over including a prohibition on internet gambling, the Port Security Act was passed shortly after midnight Friday. While Republicans insisted the Port Security Bill should only focus on U.S. ports and not mass transit, a number of representatives in the House questioned how a provision on "internet gambling" could be added to the bill. The changes angered some Democrats, who helped craft the original port security legislation but were largely blocked from the final negotiations. The Senate had overwhelmingly approved the authorization of $3.5 billion for mass-transit security grants and $1 billion for freight and passenger rail programs, but House Republicans balked at the cost. "If Republicans leave town [after] stripping out all the sections protecting major sectors of out transportation sector, God help us if there's an attack," said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.). Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), whose home-state casinos are split over the Internet gambling measure, briefly weighed scuttling the bill over the provision before agreeing to go along, aides said. Senate Republican and Democratic leaders announced it would be passed by voice vote after the House's late-night vote. The online gambling measure, a blend of earlier measures passed by the House and Senate, would make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites, however, it falls short of adding clarity to a 1961 federal law banning interstate telephone betting also covers an array of online gambling. The banking industry, which was overwhelmingly against the measure to restrict online gambling, has already stated they would not have any way of monitoring the use of electronic checks for the purposes of betting online. The House passage ensured passage in the Senate as well. Senate Republican and Democratic leaders announced it would be passed by voice vote after the House's late-night vote. ----- Gambling911.com News Wire Originally published September 30, 2006 12:27 am ET

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