Online Gambling Bill Hits Hurdle in U.S. Congress
By James Mc
The congressional passage of the bill to ban most forms of Internet gambling came to a further standstill this week, as strong opposition halted attempts to tag the bill onto must-pass bills.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, a Virginia Republican, strongly objected to attaching any unrelated legislation to a pending defence bill, which had been viewed by supporters of the Internet gambling bill as one of their best chances of success.

In a letter to Senate Majority leader Bill Frist, Warner declared, 'I have firmly opposed putting any (unrelated) bills in the conference report,” referring to senators’ attempts to add at least nine unrelated items to the defence bill.

Aides now suggest that Republican backers are now exploring other ways to pass the bill before lawmakers recess at the end of this week to campaign for the elections on November 7. It is believed that Mr Frist and other proponents are looking at the pending measure to bolster port security against potential terrorist attacks, as a new method of success.

'He wants to get it done,' one aide said. 'We are still working things out. Everyone is still talking.'

Democrats have criticised the Republican-backed measure as an election-year appeal to the party's conservative base, particularly the religious right.

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