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About the only things getting real bipartisan love in Congress these days are Hollywood-backed bills to make the government a more powerful force in online copyright enforcement. I wrote about one already that would make streaming of copyrighted content a felony with jail time as a possible penalty. The other is S.968, the PROTECT IP Act,that would empower the Department of Justice to demand search engines and domain registries to block websites they determine are "dedicated to infringing."

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The Week Ahead in Congress

July 5, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate had originally set this week aside as a vacation period, but Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] decided last week that keeping the Senate around to work on debt ceiling negotiations was more important than more time off, so he's called the Senate back. The Senate and the House both convene today with only 9 working days left before the July 22nd deadline that the White House has set for Congress to pass a debt limiting increase in order to avoid default in early August. Needless to say, debt talks will be ongoing all week, and there's still a lot on the table to discuss -- how much the ceiling should be increased by, whether it should last beyond the 2012 elections or not, and, of course, what spending and revenue measure should be attached to it.

While those discussions happen behind the scenes, both chambers have set full legislative floor schedules for themselves as well. The House will be voting on the massive $649 billion Department of Defense spending bill for 2012, among other things, while the Senate kicks things off with a resolution to authorize U.S. military involvement in Libya.

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The Senate has canceled their week-long July 4th vacation so they can continue working on a deal to raise the debt ceiling, the deadline for which has been pushed forward to July 22nd. But while those discussions take place in back rooms out of the public view, the full Senate will publicly debate a bill to provide congressional authorization of U.S. involvement in the war in Libya for up to one year.

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