One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Latest posts by Seton Motley (see all)
- Localities Shouldn’t Be Dictating (Inter-)National Policy - July 17, 2019
- We Are Surrounded By Intellectual Property – Until We Aren’t - July 13, 2019
- A ‘Drain The Swamp’ Test: Will The Trump Admin Reward Amazon’s Killer Cronyism? - July 11, 2019
President Barack Obama has dramatically ramped up the Washington, D.C., giant Crony-fest. Where economic sectors and companies Obama and his Democrats like get the gold mine – and the rest of us get the shaft. For instance, there was $80 billion for “green energy” in the awful 2009 “Stimulus” bill –80% of that coin went to Obama donors.
And since the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) emanates from this president and this vile -ville – much of it is a Crony nightmare mess. With all sorts of special treatment – good and ill – for all sorts of trade items. To wit:
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) is continuing his efforts to oppose a potential tobacco carve out in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, sending a letter yesterday to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman in which Tillis makes clear that any agricultural carve out would directly threaten the ratification of the trade pact.
In recent days, Tillis has been meeting with his Senate colleagues, including Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Finance Committee ChairmanSen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), to share his concerns that a tobacco carve out would violate provisions contained in the trade promotional authority Congress granted to the President and would risk opening the door to choosing more “winners and losers” in future trade agreements.
“…In my conversations with other Senators who would otherwise be inclined to support the TPP, I have emphasized the dangerous, precedent setting nature of a carve out and the fact that inclusion of such a term would run counter to the explicit instructions set forth in the TPA,” Senator Tillis wrote to Ambassador Froman.
“A number of my colleagues share my view that the TPP can be a net positive in the long run. I am confident, however, that the path toward ratification will be significantly endangered if the administration or one of our trading partners impose their biases by targeting specific industries for exclusion.”
President Obama doesn’t like tobacco (despite his claim to an ex-habit – which may in fact still be a habit). So TPP gives tobacco the shaft. Senator Tillis is exactly right to call out this dedicated carve-out punishment.
But our opposition to carve-outs should be consistent. Special treatment – for good or ill – is always wrong. Thus Senator Tillis’ Judiciary Committee vote for the awful PATENT Act – is a whiplash-inducing disappointment.
Sen. Thom Tillis has been trying to work out a compromise on a patent reform bill. The compromise would benefit the pharmaceutical industry by carving out an exemption from a streamlined review process for FDA-approved drugs.
Oh look – a carve-out. For which Senator Tillis has been actively working. Well that’s fairly inconsistent.
During his campaign for Senate last year, Tillis implied that incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan was beholden to big pharma because it made financial contributions to her re-election campaign.
It’s sad to see Senator Tillis so quickly acclimating to his fetid DC surroundings.
“We have to deal with the patent trolls and a lot of things that are affected in the high-tech sector, but we have our life-science, biotech, pharmaceuticals industry, particularly in North Carolina, and we’ve got to make sure that we don’t create more difficulty in the process ” Tillis told the National Journal. “I do think that there are unique considerations for high-tech that are different from considerations for life sciences.”
But Senator, if the bill is so awful for Big Pharma that they are demanding a carve-out – the bill is that awful for everyone. Which means you don’t give special treatment to Big Pharma – you give everyone an equal exemption by killing the bill.
Thankfully, there is still time for Senator Tillis to rectify this. There will be more votes on the terrible PATENT Act. He need only from now on rightly, smartly, consistently vote Nay.