Did Rep. Barney
Frank sell the H.R. 5767 the "right way"?
As all of you know, the H.R. 5767, Rep. Barney Frank's bill
aiming at suspending all regulations stemming from the Unlawful
Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), failed. The bill was
shut down at the Financial Services Committee last Wednesday, a
committee chaired by the sponsor of the bill. And although we
have already posted our opinion on the H.R. 5767
here, one question pops up in
our mind - did Mr. Frank sell the bill the "right way"?
Following the shut-down of H.R. 5767, Rep. Barney Frank
published a piece on the Huffington Post (click
here), blaming the social conservatives in the
Republican Party for "maintaining the position that the
federal government should be restrictive of individual choice in
the matter of gambling and should compel the banks to be the
banks to be the enforcers."
While we applaud Rep. Barney Frank for
his constant efforts to restore the freedom of adult Americans
to make their own decisions, maybe the H.R. 5767 discussion
should have never gone in the realms of "online gambling",
"freedom" and "adult choices". Maybe if the discussion was
strictly about the current situation the U.S. financial system
is in, the mortgage crisis, and ever-increasing losses incurred
by the banks in the past year, the outcome would be different?
After all, the H.R. 5767 did not aim at repealing the UIGEA,
rather lifting the burden imposed by the online gambling law on
the financial system. Maybe if a bunch of bank representatives
would have come and tell the committee, "Hey, we are in deep
sh*# right now, don't bother us with some extra BS about online
gambling!", the H.R. 5767 would have passed unanimously.
After all, the social conservatives (which are found on both
sides of the isle, let's not forget both Republicans and
Democrats helped UIGEA pass) love regulating people's choices,
but not businesses (see Financial Crisis).
As we have said again and again, we
don't care about the H.R. 5767, simply because the UIGEA would
still have been on the books. It was a pure bank bill and it
failed. What we care about is another bill sponsored by Rep.
Barney Frank - H.R. 2046 - Internet Gambling Regulation and
Enforcement Act of 2007, the bill which would bring regulations
and oversight to online gambling in the U.S. But if we had
learned one thing from the failure of H.R. 5767, that is the
government is not ready to accept the fact that the country is
largely populated by grown-ups, who should make their own
decisions and suffer the consequences of those decisions, just
like an adult would and should. If an amendment to the anti
online gambling bill was easily defeated in committee, the
future looks grim for the passage of H.R. 2046. All we are left
with is the hope that when the time for Internet Gambling
Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007 comes, the political
climate on Capitol Hill would be different...