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Republicans Seek Slowdown of PROTECT IP Act Consideration

Six Republican Senators have cautioned Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to slow action the PROTECT IP Act, which gives companies and the government more power to go after U.S.-directed foreign Websites they believe are pirating content.

In a letter Friday Friday, the Senators, led by Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, they said invoking cloture and forcing floor consideration of the bill Jan, 24 may have been a premature move.

They said that among the issues they have heard from constituents about are possible breaches in cybersecurity, "damaging the integrity of the Internet," costly litigation, and "the dilution of First Amendment rights."

They suggest that before the bill is voted, it should ge the subject of a hearing on those and other issues. They also wanted the speaker's pledge that the would allow amendments on the floor. Bill sponsor Patrick Leahy (D-Vt..), chair of Senate Judiciary Committee, has said he plans to offer a manager's amendment--essentially a substitute bill--that will be without one of the most contentions provisions, which would have allowed ISPs to block access to the sites of suspected pirates.

Also signing on to the letter were Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee (both Utah), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), John Cornyn (Tex.), and Tom Coburn (Okla.).