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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. I hope Ernesto won’t mind if I excerpt at length, with a second vociferous recommendation to read it all and share it with your online communities :: 

On January 23rd, the United States Senate will reconvene to begin legislative business for 2012.  After the first order of business is taken care of, Majority Leader Harry Reid will then continue the process he started on December 17th of moving PIPA towards a Senate floor vote….

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.  If three-fifths of the U.S. Senate agree by voting yes on cloture (ending debate), then the bill can be taken up for consideration and the process where Senators can offer amendments will begin as well as another cloture motion (resulting in another 30 hours of debate). …

However, if 60 Senators do not vote yes on cloture, then Senators Wyden, Moran, Cantwell, and Paul will be allowed to continue to speak in opposition to PIPA forever.  That being said, what would likely happen in the aftermath if PIPA fails to gain 60 yes votes is the bill is withdrawn and a compromise is negotiated.  If no compromise is possible, then the bill officially dies.  It is important to note that three-fifths of the Senate must vote yes to move PIPA forward.  For example, if 59 Senators voted yes on cloture and 41 Senators voted present or do not vote at all, it fails to pass.  The key factor in cloture is three-fifths of the Senate voting yes on cloture and not how many votes are against PIPA.

… the stop-SOPA coalition AmericanCensorship, of which PPF is a proud founding member, is running a campaign encouraging constituents to visit their senators’ offices in-person with a demand to join the ranks of the sought-after 41 PIPA opponents. More to come on that grassroots effort. As Ernesto wrote To begin countering the $94 million spent in lobbying in support of PIPA and SOPA, more than a million Americans have contacted Congress in opposition and citizen boycotts have forced corporations to withdraw their support of passage.

Why, again, is it so urgent to oppose these terrible legal frameworks for an internet blacklist? Answers via our deeply-researched partners EFF, FightForTheFuture, and of course our own OC Blog.

Next post here on the OC Blog by my colleague Donny will focus on the signing-into-law by Pres. Obama of S. 1867, i.e. “NDAA”, the defense authorization bill, supported by only 3% of MyOC users. Previous coverage on OC blog re: its controversial detention provisions & legislative context.

By way of link roundup, D.C. is relatively quiet still — e.g., WaPo’s 2Chambers blog appears to have hit the campaign trail for a couple of weeks — nothing new yet in the new year at top-notch watchdog blogs, Main St. Insider or Congress Matters — but FDL NewsDesk had a few Congress-related items yesterday, viz. re: recess appointments and defense spending (20% of our federal budget, of course).

Earlier, I made a few comments on the micropublishing service re: the preposterously antiquated, un-representative, un-democratic Iowa caucus process. I look forward to a more enlightened era when electoral reforms for deliberative democracy, including fair elections & score voting, render this national lunacy (re: IA & NH’s disproporitionate influence on national politics and weird partisan outcomes) a bizarre historical mania.

Don’t miss the inspirational Dahlia Lithwick on the SCOTUS & health care reform, via the ever-impressive Marketplace. Highly recommended preview of a showdown in March over H.R. 3962, the major heath care bill – past coverage on OC Blog.

On what issues, topics, and bills do you have your eyes trained? Let us know: david at

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