A partisan divide may keep "right to repair" bills from passing Congress.
Republican members of Congress said at a House hearing Wednesday that the bills "won’t help consumers but could damage the retailers and manufacturer-authorized repair shops now in business," reports Chuck Abbott of Successful Farming. "A consumer advocate warned that 'repair monopolization' was pervasive in sectors including personal computing, TVs, and agriculture."
None of the six bills has received committee action, and time is running short before a new Congress is elected. "The House plans to recess from the end of September until Nov. 14, after the midterm elections, and will adjourn for the year in mid-December," Abbott notes.
Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, who called the hearing as chair of the small-business subcommittee, said “Decades of evidence have made it clear that repair restrictions raise costs, hurt small businesses, and encourage waste while padding large corporations’ pockets. . . . For generations, small farmers have been able to make repairs on the spot and continue working when a tractor or other piece of equipment breaks down,” but now a bad sensor can "shut down a tractor and force a farmer to wait hours for manufacturer-authorized repairs, he said, even though an independent repair shop might be nearby and would charge less," Abbott reports.
But Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., "said right-to-repair laws could jeopardize the well-being of shops now authorized to make high-tech repairs and could even facilitate intellectual property theft by making diagnostic tools and software manuals more widely available," Abbott writes. To read the written testimony from the hearing, click here. To watch a video of the hearing, click here.