I don't have time to write or think in any detail about this at the moment but brief responses to Elsevier withdrawing support for the Research Works Act.
1. The bill is dead. Essentially no-one else was supporting this bill. The AAP was working closely with senior Elsevier people and there was essentially zero engagement from anyone else. Apart from the Ecological Society of Amercia, no other AAP member or any other publishers supported the bill. For Elsevier to back down a deal must have been done to allow Maloney and Issa to save face.
2. This is a backdown, not a change of heart. The statement says very clearly that Elsevier will continue to oppose mandates. They distinguish at some level between government mandates and "working with funders" but Elsevier's current practice is to consistently make life difficult and/or expensive wherever a mandate is applied, whether by government, funder, or by an institution. Senior Management at Elsevier believe that this is a principled position. I believe that is wrong-headed and tactically and strategically inept, but it seems unlikely that the position is likely to shift.
3. With no change of heart there will be no swing behind FRPAA. This is a tactical withdrawal to enable a more coherent publisher coalition to be built to oppose FRPAA. The AAP will do so strongly, along (probably) with Springer, Wiley-Blackwell, and a range of society publishers. Key questions are which way will Nature Publishing Group and the AAAS come out given they have given strong support to the NIH mandate. Remember that Issa is chair of the committee where FRPAA is currently lodged.
4. Shifting from a negative campaign against something towards something positive will be hard. FRPAA should be a major target for support and a means of bringing the coalition closer together. In the UK the Finch report provides an opportunity for the significantly grown OA community to demand that its voice be heard. And in the moves towards Horizon 2020 in Europe and the development and implementation of policy for that there are also large opportunities. Time to move on from what we oppose to what we support - and to articulate clearly both what that is, and how we get there from here.