01.20.12

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Postponement Of The Vote On Cloture On The Motion To Proceed To The PROTECT IP Act

“The United States Senate has identified a problem directly affecting American jobs, American workers and American consumers.  When I first came to Congress, it was the practice of the Senate to debate competing ideas to address such a problem; regrettably, that is not the practice today.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously reported the PROTECT IP Act in May.  Since then, I have worked with both Senators and stakeholders to identify concerns and find meaningful ways to address them.  Only when the Senate considers this legislation can we do so.  In the meantime, more time will pass with jobs lost and economies hurt by foreign criminals who are stealing American intellectual property, and selling it back to American consumers.  I remain committed to addressing this problem; I hope other members of Congress won’t simply stand on hollow promises to find a way to eliminate online theft by foreign rogue websites, and will instead work with me to send a bill to the President’s desk this year.

“I understand and respect Majority Leader Reid’s decision to seek consent to vitiate cloture on the motion to proceed to the PROTECT IP Act.  But the day will come when the Senators who forced this move will look back and realize they made a knee-jerk reaction to a monumental problem.  Somewhere in China today, in Russia today, and in many other countries that do not respect American intellectual property, criminals who do nothing but peddle in counterfeit products and stolen American content are smugly watching how the United States Senate decided it was not even worth debating how to stop the overseas criminals from draining our economy.” 

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