OVERNIGHT TECH: Cybersecurity, high-skill visas top tech agenda for lame duck

At this point, the prospects for the bill look dim. Senate aides say Republicans and Democrats still aren't any closer to a compromise than they were in August, when GOP members blocked a motion to end debate and move the measure forward. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also wants Reid to hold an open amendment process if the bill is considered again. This summer the two parties failed to agree on a set of amendments to vote on. Reid accused Republicans for impeding progress after GOP members put forward amendments to repeal the Affordable Care Act and outlaw abortions.

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If the bill is brought to the floor and fails, it could open the door for the White House to make a move with its executive order on cybersecurity. 

Vote for Smith's STEM Jobs Act flickers on horizon: There are murmurs among industry sources that the House could bring Rep. Lamar Smith's (R-Texas) STEM Jobs Act up for a vote after the Thanksgiving holiday. The House voted on the bill in September under suspension of the rules, but it failed to secure the two-thirds support needed to clear the lower chamber. With Republicans retaining the majority in the House, observers say the bill has enough votes to pass, but it would go untouched in the Senate. A House Judiciary aide declined to comment on the rumors. 

“We should make our immigration system smarter by increasing green cards for the most talented foreign graduates of American universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics," Smith said in an emailed statement. "I am always happy to discuss this subject with my colleagues from both parties and across the Capitol.”

Pandora's Westergren in town: The debate over royalty rates is also heating up. Pandora founder Tim Westergren will likely speak about the Internet radio service's support for the Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA) at the Future of Music Coalition's Future of Music Summit on Tuesday morning. The bill proposes to put Internet radio services on the same royalty-setting standard as cable and satellite radio stations. Pandora believes the bill would lower the royalty fees it pays to compensate artists for streaming songs on its service so they're in line with the fees paid by other digital radio services.

The House Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a hearing later this month on music licensing and the IRFA. The NAACP and AFL-CIO have recently come out against the bill, saying it will take money away from musicians and recording artists and create a "race to the bottom" for performance rights. Supporters of the IRFA, including AccRadio and the Consumer Electronics Association, say the bill will ensure Internet radio services don't unfairly pay high royalty rates. 

FTC closes in on Google in antitrust case: The Federal Trade Commission is coming closer to a decision in its yearlong investigation of Google's business practices.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that the FTC is pressuring Google to propose remedies in the case in the next few days or face a formal complaint.

Google has been in discussions with the agency for about two weeks but hasn't put any remedy proposals on the table, according to Bloomberg.

People familiar with the case say the commission staffers have concluded there is reason to believe Google is violating antitrust laws and have recommended that the commission take action.

The FTC is concerned that Google is manipulating its search results to ensure that its own services, such as YouTube, Google Maps and Google Shopping, appear above those of its rivals.

Google has reportedly told European regulators, who are also investigating the issue, that it is willing to label its own services in search results. 

But that concession would not appease Google's competitors, who are urging regulators to order the company to treat its own services the same way it treats competitors.

Dotcom's new service finds domain name: Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom found a domain name for his new online storage service, Mega, according to the Next Web. The holding site is now live under a New Zealand-based domain name. 

Bono Mack loses, opening up key privacy spot: Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) conceded defeat to Democrat Raul Ruiz late Friday, leaving open her chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subpanel on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.

The committee has jurisdiction over the Federal Trade Commission, including its work on online privacy and consumer protection issues. Bono Mack was at times a vocal critic of Google and Facebook, but she was reluctant to support legislation mandating privacy safeguards.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), the next most senior Republican on the subcommittee, is a leading contender to take Bono Mack's spot. But observers say she could be interested in taking over the chairmanship of the Oversight subcommittee, which was chaired by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.).


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