Top Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee said on Friday that Senate leaders are moving too quickly to approve a controversial piece of anti-piracy legislation.
Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy's Protect IP Act aims to crack down on foreign websites that feature pirated content or counterfeit products.
But GOP members of Leahy's committee told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that many problems remain unresolved. Reid has called for a vote on cloture when the Senate returns on Jan. 24.
"We strongly believe that the theft of American intellectual property is a significant problem that must be addressed to protect property rights," the senators said in a letter to Reid. "However, for both substantive and procedural reasons, the process at this point is moving too quickly and this step may be premature."
Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; and Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.; John Cornyn, R-Texas; Mike Lee, R-Utah; and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., signed the letter.
In a statement, Leahy, D-Vt., said the cloture vote would just be the beginning of the process.
"All Senators should agree that this is a debate we must have, and we should have, and should support cloture on the motion to proceed on January 24," he said.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Protect IP Act in May, but concerns over privacy, security, and other issues have dogged the bill and its counterpart in the House.
The House version, called the Stop Online Piracy Act, has yet to clear the House Judiciary Committee. Rumors are circulating that the markup has again been delayed, but a committee spokeswoman said no date has been set.