ICANN had been planning on a radical transformation of the gTLD system in May 2009 that would result in a tremendous expansion of available gTLDs (current examples of gTLDs include .biz, .mobi, .com, .org). The proposal would basically allow anyone with $185K to buy a new gTLD (although technically those are application fees).

Large brands have almost universally been opposed to the expansion as it would cost businesses substantially to defensively register domain names and manage applications for a potentially limitless pool of domain names.

The public comment period ended on December 15th, with well over 200 comments (most against). On December 18, the US government delivered its strong response (pdf). There were two separate comments issued by the US Government, but the most stinging was delivered by Deborah Garza on behalf of the Department of Commerce. ArsTechnica describes one element of her response:

Garza blisters ICANN for its failure to perform due diligence before signing off on a proposal that just happens to make everyone involved a whole pile of money

Garza finishes her letter of opposition with this statement:

To date, we believe that ICANN has not come close to fulfilling its obligations to employ competitive principles in its management of TLD registry operations.

It is hard to be certain of the outcome from this round of reviews, but the comments by the US Government will certainly have a large impact on the proposal and may encourage other governments to present their own comments.

One of the most comprehensive writeups on the gTLD opposition is provided by Mike Palage at the Technology Liberation Front and well worth a careful read. He does a great job detailing the details of the objections which range from business to technical issues.