House Votes For COMPETES Act, Even With Its Problems, Almost Entirely On Party Lines

from the that's-too-bad dept

Congress is trying to overload anyone who supports an open internet with terrible bill after terrible bill. Last week, they brought out the “COMPETES Act” (renamed from Endless Frontiers which had already been renamed as “USICA” and then became COMPETES). The underlying concept of the bill actually is important — reviving American innovation. The Senate version of the bill was mostly good and had broad bipartisan support. However, for reasons I don’t understand, Nancy Pelosi allowed the bill to be loaded up with a bunch of items on the Democrats’ wish list, including the ridiculously dangerous SHOP SAFE Act.

This week, of course, we’ve been stuck dealing with the reintroduction of the also terrible EARN IT Act in the Senate, and while all of the open internet activists were gearing up to fight that, the House went ahead and voted to approve the COMPETES Act with no changes. It was an almost strict party-line vote, ending up at 222 for and 210 against. One Democrat — Rep. Stephanie Murphy — voted against it, and one Republican — Rep. Adam Kinzinger (who technically is still a Republican) voted for it.

This all seems so incredibly counterproductive by Pelosi and the Democrats. I know they want a “win” and when there’s a bill that will move they feel they need to hang all sorts of gifts on it, but following the Senate’s lead and coming up with a more reasonable bill that wasn’t stuff full of bad ideas would have presented this as an actually interesting and useful bill, rather than turning it into a partisan thing. Politics is where policy goes to die. And, unfortunately, it may take parts of the open internet with it.

That said, the Senate version does not have the nonsense and dangerous SHOP SAFE bill attached, and the hope is that during the conference process where the House and Senate try to square up the different bills, SHOP SAFE will get left on the cutting room floor, where it belongs.

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Comments on “House Votes For COMPETES Act, Even With Its Problems, Almost Entirely On Party Lines”

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14 Comments
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"…if the bill not changed and is pushed wont they end up voting on party-lines like in the house and its likely that Wyden and others will vote against?"

About the only thing most democrats can agree with republicans on is that they don’t really want things to get better. The ratchet effect is real enough.

This bill is great for all the monolithic oligopolies and pseudo-monopolies around and very much less so for smaller business and online retailers. So with every major campaign contributor having an interest in this passing, it will likely pass.

If there’s anything I’m still very much confused about it would be why so many americans still think they have a government by the people, for the people when almost every politician to make it to the house and senate come with a leash and an owner.

Anonymous Coward says:

If the Shop Safe Act, all the online marketplaces will go offshore, and use the Dark Web and Bitcoins.

So if this passes, watch the value of bitcoin skyrocket.

Ross Ulbricht’s mistake was not using Tor to access his own website.

Had Ross used Tor to access his site, instead of connecting directluy, the Feds would have never found him, and he would be one of the richest men in America now, instead of doing life in prison.

Based on bitcoin’s value at the time he was busted, and bitcoin’s most recent high, he would be the richest man in America now, at about $380 billion after federal and state taxes, if he had been never been caught and was able to cash out his bitcoin at its most recent high.

By comparison, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is worth about $164 billion.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"If the Shop Safe Act, all the online marketplaces will go offshore, and use the Dark Web and Bitcoins."

It isn’t unlikely. If we’ve learned anything from history it would be that when government decides to go all-in on protectionist bullshit harming the ability of newcomers to make a buck, circumvention of the offending legislation becomes the norm rather than the exception.

I’d advise anyone not already in the know to read up on the french lace monopoly of the…17th century, I think, as well as the british Red Flag Act.

Shop Safe is just that best legislation money could buy. For the biggest campaign contributors – also the biggest monopolies irked at having to compete – this bill is the g(r)ift which keeps on giving.

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