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The Week Ahead in Congress

January 30, 2012 - by Donny Shaw

It's the week after the State of the Union, and while the Senate is moving forward with bipartisan legislation requested by the President during the speech, the House is continuing its highly-partisan, mostly-symbolic agenda.

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Congress Links - STOCK Act

January 30, 2012 - by David Moore

Congress Links for Monday, Jan. 30th. The Hill: "The Senate meets at 2 p.m. for speeches, and then at 4:30 p.m. starts work on the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which aims to prevent members of Congress from making trades based on non-public information." (At right: Sen. Gillibrand, Senate version sponsor.) The STOCK Act has 99% support from "MyOC" users - visit to the Money Trail for a list of organizations supporting S. 1903, including Common Cause. Click through for more background & links. 

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Congress Links: SOtU Reax

January 25, 2012 - by David Moore

Congress Links today rounds-up reactions to last night's State of the Union adddress. As usual, we lead with the powerfully lucid Ezra Klein of Wonkblog: "But what viewers of the State of the Union learned was that Obama has an agenda. An ambitious one, even. Whether they approve of it, and whether they approve of congressional Republicans obstructing it, remains to be seen." (At right, House Maj. Leader Rep. Boehner [R-OH], previous coverage on OC Blog.)

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Congress Links - SOtU Edition

January 24, 2012 - by David Moore

The U.S. House returns to gridlocked action in D.C. this week. The top story, of course, is (yesterday's) State of the Union address. Ezra Klein's must-read-e'ery-day Wonkblog on WaPo reminds us, "Last year, for instance, Obama exhorted Americans to win the future by investing in scientific research, clean energy and infrastructure. But as Glenn Kessler details, Obama's proposals languished in the divided Congress. Instead, Congress spent much of its time almost letting the government shut down, almost defaulting on the national debt, and almost letting the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance expire." More Congress Links to come today (Wed.).

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SOPA/PIPA Dead ...For Now.

January 20, 2012 - by Donny Shaw

Following a day of unprecedented online protest, the web censorship bills in Congress, SOPA and PIPA, have officially been tabled. “In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act (PIPA)," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced this morning.

SOPA in the House was put on hold as well. "It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products," said Judiciary Committee Chairman and SOPA sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith. The SOPA mark-up was scheduled to resume on Feb. 18th, but it has now officially been postponed indefinitely.

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PIPA Vote Delayed, Notable Win, Now Kill It Off

January 18, 2012 - by David Moore

Update 1-20-2012, 10am ET: Sen. Reid has officialy pulled the cloture vote on the PIPA net censorship bill that was scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 24th. Follow Ernesto Falcon for updates. Congrats to our new net-freedom sibling org. Fight For the Future & all our terrific allies in the American Censorship coalition.

While we savor this battle-win, keep in mind that net censorship should never have been a legitimate starting point - this terrible legislation was penned and pushed by Hollywood lobbyists & campaign donations, a perfectly egregious example of systemic corruption in the U.S. Congress - and that its supporters nearly succeeded in rushing PIPA / SOPA (the worst Internet legislation in history!) to a cloture vote - all this despite the largest online protest in history. Too close - too corrupt. To be clear, PIPA & SOPA are not dead, and we won't hold off on driving constituents to call their members' offices in opposition until they are past-doubt-dead.

Wednesday's #PIPA protest blew away OC's record for most web traffic in a day - over 256,000 visits, amazing. This post will be continually updated as we build-out our successful wiki community project: whip the Senate against PIPA. More info after the jump.

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New York Metro Area - Emergency #PIPA Protest Tomorrow

January 17, 2012 - by David Moore

For readers in the NYC metro area -- tomorrow, join me & over 12,000 others who have RSVP'd for this emergency NY Tech MeetUp protest of NY Senators Schumer & Gillibrand's office, in opposition to their continued co-sponorship of the #PIPA internet censorship bill. A diverse movement (tech entrepreneurs, non-profits, venture capitalists, independent media) is coming together in-person to attract public attention, protest the terrible, shoulda-been-non-starter PIPA legislation... and demand Sens. Schumer & Gillibrand remove their co-sponsorship immediately and convey to Sen. Reid that they'll be voting against PIPA on Jan. 24th when the Senate returns. If you're a New York state consituent, call and write your two senators to let them know you'll be attending the protest - and wherever you're located, use that link to hit up our wiki community project to whip the Senate against PIPA. 

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Six GOP Co-Sponsors of PIPA Ask Reid to Cancel Vote

January 13, 2012 - by Donny Shaw

In an incredible turn of events, six Republican Senators have asked Majority Leader Harry Reid not to hold a vote on PIPA, the Senate version of SOPA. They write, "Prior to committee action, some members expressed substantive concerns about the bill, and there was a commitment to resolve them prior to floor consideration. That resolution has not yet occurred."

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Help Us Whip #PIPA

January 13, 2012 - by Donny Shaw

Ahead of the January 24th vote on the PROTECT-IP Act (a.k.a. PIPA) we're organizing a distributed public whip-count campaign to find out where each member of the Senate stands on the bill. This bill would establish the first ever internet censorship system in the United States, and our right to free speech depends on it being killed. It's being rushed to a vote on the first day back from January recess even though the only debate it's had so far was at an 8-minute mark-up session in the Judiciary Committee where no objections were heard. 

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Jan. 24th: Our Best Chance to Kill SOPA

January 12, 2012 - by Donny Shaw

The internet censorship bills that have been winding their ways through Congress are about to reach a key, make-or-break moment. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] has scheduled a vote on a motion to begin debate of the Senate version, PIPA, for January 24th, the day after they return from recess, and defeating that motion is our best chance for stopping web censorship from becoming law. Let me explain why.

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Today's biggest news arrived this morning with the announcement by influential Rep. Paul Ryan [R, WI-01] that he opposes the #SOPA net censorship bill. The Hill reports: "Rep. Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and a leading conservative lawmaker ... said he would vote against the legislation should it come before the House. ... [Rep. Lamar] Smith’s Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the bill when Congress returns from its recess later this month. The Senate is also set to vote on its version of the legislation, the Protect IP Act [#PIPA], when Congress returns."

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PIPA first on Senate agenda on Jan. 24th, 2012

January 3, 2012 - by David Moore

Happy 20-12 all, looking ahead to the second session of the 112th U.S. Congress. The House is officially back in session on Jan. 17th, and the Senate convenes on Monday Jan. 23rd. Until then it's all about district visits & fundraisers, generally speaking.

The most important blog post of the new year - so far - is by our ally Ernesto Falcon of Public Knowledge, giving an overview of the legislative process surrounding the net censorship bill PIPA when the Senate returns under Sen. Reid's prioritization. He writes, "On January 24th, Majority Leader Reid’s cloture motion will have matured its 30 hours and he will then be allowed to call for an up-or-down vote on moving forward to consider PIPA... For example, if 59 Senators voted yes on cloture and 41 Senators voted present or do not vote at all, it fails to pass."

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