“I’ve heard from many Rhode Islanders who are concerned about this bill and I share their desire to preserve the free and open nature of the Internet,” Whitehouse, who is in the Philippines with other senators, told WPRI.com in a statement. “I remain concerned about the effect of online piracy on jobs and consumer safety, and continue to support legislation to address this problem.”
“That said,” he continued, “I look forward to working with my colleagues to consider further improvements to the bill before a final vote is held – whether that happens next week or at a later date.” Whitehouse’s colleagues – Jack Reed, Jim Langevin and David Cicilline – say they also support the goal of cracking down on Internet piracy.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Friday morning that he has decided to postpone Tuesday’s scheduled vote on the Senate anti-piracy bill, the Protect IP Act, in the hopes of finding “a compromise in the coming weeks.” Whitehouse has been a cosponsor of the bill since it was introduced last May.
Politico reported that the anti-piracy bills were “hanging on for dear life Thursday.”
Whitehouse’s Republican challenger, Barry Hinckley, criticized the senator’s support for the bill this week. Christopher McAuliffe, a spokesman for Hinckley, suggested “it makes more sense in light of the over $200,000 in campaign contributions Whitehouse has received from the entertainment industry.” Whitehouse’s allies dismiss that, pointing to his years in law enforcement and his concern with unfair economic competition from abroad.
• Related: Whitehouse bucks Wikipedia, stays sponsor of Protect IP Act (Jan. 18)