Spam fight divides on party lines

Friday, 11 July 2003, 12:52 PM EST

Politicians on Capitol Hill have realized that their constituents are fed up with the ever-increasing deluge of unsolicited e-mail, and most legislators appear to favor Congress taking some sort of action. But disagreements about what action is wisest have erupted along traditional political fault lines that pit Republican values against those cherished by Democrats.

On Wednesday, bickering erupted during a meeting of two House Energy and Commerce subcommittees over which of two bills--one backed largely by Democrats and one supported almost entirely by Republicans--would do a better job of reducing spam and punishing spammers.

"This committee is moving in the wrong direction," said Rep. Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat who is one of the sponsors of his party's Anti-Spam Act, better known as the Wilson-Green bill. Twenty of the bill's sponsors are Republicans, while 33 are Democrats.

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