Despite the White House’s objections, Harry Reid said on Meet The Press that SOPA will save jobs and the Majority Leader continued to push the legislation.
Here the video from NBC News:
MR. GREGORY: Well, we just talked about their, their muscular impact on the process.
SEN. REID: Well, but that’s during the past year. I would hope that the two Republican leaders have learned what took place in the previous year. And, you know, what we have to focus on this year is rebuilding the economy. We have to, and the only way to do that is to create jobs and that’s why the agenda that I’m moving forward on, I hope with some cooperation from the Republicans this time, is to do something about creating jobs. Our surface transportation bill, it’ll save a million jobs, create a lot more jobs, Federal Aviation Administration, that’s more than 200,000 jobs. We’re having a very important piece of legislation, important to this network right here, IP, and that’s of course dealing with informational–with, with making sure that we have intellectual property that’s protected and we need to do that. And that–that’s also job saving. So that’s what we need to work on, things that create jobs and protect the American economy.
MR. GREGORY: Just on that point, because it’s been a big issue, is, is I’m on Facebook and I’m on Twitter, people saying that in fact that–that’s a bill that appears to be helpful but could have an effect of really clamping down on free expression on the Internet.
SEN. REID: We–this bill was reported out of the committee in May unanimously, Democrats and Republicans, and in recent weeks organizations like Google and Facebook and others have said, “Well, there are some problems this could create,” and I think they’re right, I think it could create some problems. That’s why I’ve spoken to Senator Leahy, chairman of the committee, I’ve written a letter to the ranking member, Senator Grassley, saying, “Let’s–we, we–there are some issues that have come up, but I think we need to have this a winner for everyone, not just for the content people. And I’ve spoken at length with Senator Feinstein. She’s got the eye of the storm in California because that’s where a lot of the theft of music and movies is taking place and also where Google and Facebook is headquartered. So we need to work on this and we’re going to–I will hope we can have a manager’s amendment when we get back here in a week or 10 days and move forward on this. It’s important that we try to do this on a fair basis and I’m going to do everything I can to get that done.
Majority Leader Reid’s softening position comes after the Obama administration responded to an anti-SOPA petition by writing, “While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet…This is not just a matter for legislation. We expect and encourage all private parties, including both content creators and Internet platform providers working together, to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy.”
Reid’s description of legislation as having, “some problems” should raise some red flags among those who oppose SOPA/PIPA. Do we really want the most dysfunctional and inept Congress possibly ever passing legislation that will impact the freedom of the Internet? If the Senate actually addressed all of the problems with SOPA, what would be left is a toothless empty bill.
I suspected that Reid would either cancel the vote, or announce that he was postponing it, but instead Reid is pushing forward. However, he has gone from there definitely being a vote on January 24 to hoping that there will be a manager’s amendment in a week to ten days.
What’s troubling is that Harry Reid never bothered to mention the censorship concerns that this legislation has raised.
The anti-SOPA forces have momentum, but they need to keep the pressure on. Harry Reid appears to be dead set on passing some form of SOPA/PIPA. The good news is that with this being an election year, Congress is susceptible to public pressure. What Reid was saying is that the Senate is caught between two masters (the entertainment industry and the Internet giants), and your voice may determine which way the legislation goes.
Reid’s stance on SOPA is reminder that the corruption in Congress is ruining our representative democracy.