Senate to take up PROTECT IP Act after holiday

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is the author of the legislation, S.968, reacted favorably to the floor announcement selling the bill as a way to stimulate the U.S. economy. 

"The costs of online infringement are American jobs, harm to America’s economy, and very real threats to consumers’ safety," said Leahy in a statement. " The answer cannot simply be to do nothing."

Although Reid characterized the legislation as bipartisan in introducing it Saturday it is expected to face stiff opposition from his own party when it hits the floor early next year.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), for example, told The Hill in November he would work to prevent the bill from reaching the Senate floor by a filibuster or "any means necessary."

“I will stand on Senate floor for as long as it takes to lay out why the Internet is so important and what we have got do to change this bill to make sure it remains fair, open and free,” Wyden told The Hill in an interview. 

Regulations created in the act, says Wyden, would open the door for onerous lawsuits against online businesses at a time when the sector stands out as a bright spot on the bleak American economic landscape.

The Senate also passed a number of minor judicial and executive nominees as well as several small pieces of legislation, including a house-passed continuing resolution that would fund the government for another week while paperwork is wrapped-up on the omnibus.