The addition of cosponsors to any legislation is important, as it shows broad support for a bill and its initial sponsor. When Rep. Barney Frank introduced the Internet Gambling Regulation Consumer Protection & Enforcement Act of 2009 (H.R. 2267) in early May, his primary co-sponsor, Rep. Ron Paul, signed on as its primary co-sponsor. Since that time, it has gained the support of a number of sponsors in the House of Representatives, and since National Poker Week began on July 19, three more have signed on to put the current number at 51.
As Frank explained during a press conference at the 2009 World Series of Poker, the initial support of Paul was important because it “puts the Republicans in a bind between their ardent social conservatives and another strong group of people that say to keep the government out of [personal] business, don’t overregulate business, and allow freedom on the internet. The UIGEA bill was the worst example of a violation of all three of those.” H.R. 2267 was proposed to essentially repeal the UIGEA, and its support has quickly grown with cosponsors. “The number of cosponsors indicates the kind of support you’ll have,” added Frank.
Others who initially signed on to sponsor the bill were Jim McDermott (D-WA), who himself introduced companion legislation to Frank’s bill that would provide for taxation of online gaming, Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY), and Robert Wexler (D-FL).
It was just since the lobbying push in Washington, D.C. during National Poker Week that began on July 19 that three more members of Congress have officially attached their names to Frank’s legislation. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) was the first to do so on July 21 in conjunction with a meeting with California PPA state director Steve Miller, lobbyist Edward Ayoob, Dan Goldman, and Annie Duke, during which time she and her staffers expressed their ardent support of Frank and his bill. John Conyers (D-MI) agreed to cosponsor the legislation the following day, and the addition of Mike Thompson (D-CA) on July 27 made for 51 cosponsors in total thus far.
All in all, there are four Republicans, one Independent, and 46 Democrats attached to H.R. 2267, in addition to Frank. If positive reports from many who lobbied on Capitol Hill during National Poker Week come to fruition, there will be even more support for the legislation in the coming weeks.
To view all of the cosponsors of the bill, as well as find contact information for members of Congress, visit the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative website or that of the Poker Players Alliance.
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