Dateline: Washington, DC
In an emergency late night session, the United States Senate passed a bill significantly restricting the manufacturing and sales of most video games in this country. The bill, introduced by Senators Joseph Lieberman (D-Connecticut), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York), and Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) was presented as an attempt to obviate the onslaught of similar legislation in various states.
The bill, known as the Bayh, Clinton and Lieberman Act, passed by a surprising vote of 58-42, split along party lines, with the three Democratic sponsors voting with the Republicans. Passage was not achieved without significant negotiation, however. Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) led a group of Republicans to insert language, dubbed the “Abramoff Amendment”, which clarified that ‘gaming‘ would not be covered by this ‘game‘ bill. He also insisted on extending restrictions to cover game advertisements (the “Frist Amendment”).
Supporters of the bill heralded its passage, while supporters of the First Amendment were strangely silent. In a press conference shortly after the vote, Clinton, Lieberman, Frist, and Senate President Pro Tem Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) addressed the weary press corps, each in turn describing the bill as “a victory of bipartisanship”.
When asked about her political plans for 2008 and whether she felt that Sen. Lieberman’s stand against video games cost Al Gore the Presidency in 2000, Clinton replied, “Video game players don’t vote, and how much difference could 74 million Americans make, anyway?”
Lieberman quickly added, “That was all Tipper’s fault,” in an apparent reference to Tipper Gore’s very public (and similar) attacks on rock and roll music in the 1980s.
Frist was questioned about the fact that games such as America’s Army, used by the US Army for recruitment and training, would be outlawed, to which he responded that “We have already appropriated 250 billion dollars [$250,000,000,000] for the war in Iraq, and soldiers should be getting plenty of target practice there.”
Stevens added, “If the Senate President [Vice President Dick Cheney] can find people to shoot domestically, then so can other Americans.”
The Whitehouse confirmed that President Bush intends to sign the legislation when it reaches his desk, primarily because he lost his veto stamp shortly after his first inauguration. Whitehouse Press Secretary Scott McClellan indicated that Bush plans to attach a signing statement declaring that the act will not be interpreted to restrict any version of Whack-A-Mole, “’cause that’s his favorite.”
The House of Representatives is expected to bring the matter to the floor for a vote later today.