Speaking to political publication Roll Call, SOPA sponsor and House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) took shots earlier this week at critics of the bill that has gained as much bi-partisan opposition as it has support.
"The criticism of this bill is completely hypothetical; none of it is based in reality," Smith said in a statement to Roll Call. "Not one of the critics was able to point to any language in the bill that would in any way harm the Internet. Their accusations are simply not supported by any facts."
When asked about online opposition to the bill from places such as Reddit, Smith was quite dismissive.
"It’s a vocal minority, he said. "Because they’re strident doesn’t mean they’re either legitimate or large in number. One, they need to read the language. Show me the language. There’s nothing they can point to that does what they say it does do. I think their fears are unfounded."
On support from colleagues on his side of the aisle Smith said that the "most important thing [is], they haven’t told me not to go forward. I’m expecting support."
Anyone that watched the markup sessions noted that many members from both sides of the aisle were not happy with the fact that committee did not spend enough time consulting experts before moving to mark up the legislation.
"It’s time to pull the nerds in," Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said.
"There’s an opportunity to negotiate, even big bills like this, before the markup commences. And your chances of being successful are greater in those negotiations than they are in the open debate," Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said.
Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), a staunch critic of the bill in its current form, said the intense criticism of the bill was the result of the short amount of time the committee had to deal with the issue.
"We’ve had controversy over bills before that are dealing with a comprehensive topic, but we’ve always had more time to deal with them, so that the kinds of large differences that you see laid out here have been taken care of in the past," Lungren said.
Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), the boldest critic of the bill, has made the markup process difficult, alongside Lungren and others. Recently Issa changed his Facebook profile picture a black box with "censored" in white letters to protest the bill.
Source: Roll Call