Tom Hebert

25+ Conservative Groups and Activists Urge Congress to Reject Democrat Antitrust Power Grab

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Thursday, June 17th, 2021, 11:00 AM PERMALINK

A coalition of 26 conservative groups and grassroots activists at both the state and federal level released a letter today urging Congress to reject the Democrat antitrust power-grab spearheaded by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and organized by far-left Members like Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). 

The coalition's message is clear – Democrat lawmakers are attempting to harness legitimate conservative anger at Big Tech to give unelected Biden bureaucrats sweeping new power to regulate the economy. Democrats are dealing in bad faith, and this Trojan horse package does absolutely nothing to address conservative concerns with Big Tech. If implemented, these bills increase the likelihood of political abuse. 

Republicans need to hold firm against this clear attempt by Democrats to weaponize antitrust law for their own political gain. 

You can view the full letter here or below. 

Dear Member of Congress: 

We urge you to reject the package of European-style over-regulation in the antitrust bills spearheaded by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and co-sponsored by Members from the far left like Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). 

These bills are a deceitful attempt by Democrat lawmakers to exploit legitimate conservative anger over Big Tech in order to give the Biden administration sweeping new power to regulate the economy. But make no mistake about it – Democrats are dealing in bad faith, and this Trojan horse package does absolutely nothing to address conservative concerns with Big Tech censorship – and could increase those concerns. 

If implemented, bureaucrats in the Biden administration would wield vast new powers at the expense of American business and households. This heavy-handed approach should offer no comfort for those worried that the platforms are biased against them, as it actually increases the likelihood of political abuse. 

Republicans and free-market Democrats should hold firm and vote No. 

One bill would give bureaucrats power to determine if “covered” platforms with over fifty million users and a market cap of $600 billion might operate businesses that present a “conflict of interest.” If so, “any person” who fails to sell off these alleged conflicts of interest within two years of the bill’s enactment faces steep civil penalties of up to 30 percent of revenue in a given year.

At the same time, another bill effectively bans covered platforms from selling or providing private-label goods that consumers value in their marketplaces, which makes about as much sense as banning grocery stores from selling generic cereal. 

Another bill outlaws new acquisitions for covered platforms, a key driver of economic growth and innovation. The legislation inverts the burden of proof in certain antitrust cases that would presume that American companies are guilty of anticompetitive conduct until proven innocent. This would massively stack the deck in favor of government enforcers and litigious trial lawyers looking to score a quick buck by gaming the legal system. U.S. economic growth would be dealt a crippling blow just as we emerge from the pandemic.

Another bill would force covered platforms to share their data with competitors via a government-mandated “interface” – giving government agents and malicious hackers the ability to access sensitive consumer information all in one place. The final bill will give more resources to the Federal Trade Commission at a time when the agency, controlled by liberal activists like Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter and newly-installed Chair Lina Khan, seems likely to use rulemaking authority to effectively create new antitrust law. Once this power is claimed, they plan to deploy it in service of their social agenda

As a whole, this European antitrust approach would deliver Europe’s low levels of innovation and deprive Americans of choice and access to convenient services and products that we use each and every day. Apple would no longer be able to operate the App Store or Apple Music. Google would not be able to display YouTube links or Google Maps directions when searched. Amazon would lose the ability to offer free Prime shipping or AmazonBasics products. 

And that’s just the beginning. 

Meanwhile, these bills do absolutely nothing to address conservative concerns with Big Tech. This package is just a test run for Democrats to regulate entire sectors of the economy, and there is no reason to believe they will stop with technology companies. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has been crystal clear that she believes antitrust law is a tool for unelected bureaucrats to “rejuvenate capitalism.” 

A vote for this package is a vote to give bureaucrats even more power to pick economic winners and losers. This is neither a conservative nor free-market approach, and would stifle the robust competition that guarantees the best products and lowest prices for every American. 

Republicans need to hold the line and vote no against weaponizing antitrust law for Democrat political gains.  

Sincerely,

Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

James L. Martin
Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association

Saulius “Saul” Anuzis
President, 60 Plus Association

Marty Connors
Alabama Center Right Coalition

Brent Wm. Gardner
Chief Government Affairs Officer, Americans for Prosperity

Kevin Waterman
Chair, Annapolis Center Right Coalition Meeting (Maryland)

Iain Murray
Vice President for Strategy, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Ashley Baker
Director of Public Policy, Committee for Justice

Chuck Muth
President, Citizen Outreach (Nevada)

Katie McAuliffe
Executive Director, Digital Liberty

Heather R. Higgins
CEO, Independent Women’s Voice

Dave Trabert
Chief Executive Officer, Kansas Policy Institute

Rodolfo Milani
Chairman, Miami Freedom Forum (Florida)

Brian McClung
Chair, Minnesota Center Right Coalition

Pete Sepp
President, National Taxpayers Union

William O’Brien
Former Speaker, NH House of Representatives
Co-chair, New Hampshire Center Right Coalition

Doug Kellogg
Executive Director, Ohioans for Tax Reform

Tom Hebert
Executive Director, Open Competition Center

Lorenzo Montanari
Executive Director, Property Rights Alliance

Wayne Brough
Director of Technology & Innovation, R Street Institute

Mike Stenhouse
CEO, Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity

Karen Kerrigan
President & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Kerri (Houston) Toloczko
Meeting Chair, SWFL Center-Right Coalition
Senior Policy Fellow, Institute for Liberty 

Patrick Hedger
Vice President of Policy, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Ralph Benko
Chairman, The Capitalist League

Rusty Cannon
President, Utah Taxpayers Association

Photo Credit: Brookings Institution


Republicans Should Reject Liberal Academic Lina Khan For FTC Commissioner

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Monday, June 14th, 2021, 2:45 PM PERMALINK

The Senate will vote this week to confirm Lina Khan to a seat on the Federal Trade Commission. 

Khan is a radical left-wing academic that will remake the FTC as a super-regulator of the entire economy and turn the clock back decades on antitrust law. 

Senate Republicans should vote NO on Khan’s nomination. 

Khan is a leading scholar in the progressive “hipster antitrust” movement to abandon the long-held consumer welfare standard, under which business conduct is evaluated on whether or not it harms consumers. If consumers are not being harmed through tangible economic effects like higher prices or reduced quality products, antitrust enforcement action is not taken.  

Instead of protecting consumers, Khan’s approach would turn antitrust law into a weapon wielded equally by inefficient companies and unelected Biden bureaucrats.

According to liberals leading the hipster antitrust movement, big companies are responsible for every social ill under the sun, including racism, poverty, and income inequality, among others. Liberals believe these companies abuse their bigness to stifle competition, cheat rivals, and harm workers. For these reasons and others, antitrust hipsters believe that government enforcers should step in and break these companies up, regardless of how it would impact consumers. 

This “big-is-bad” approach is how antitrust law was enforced before the consumer welfare standard was adopted, and it was an abject disaster. Antitrust law’s vague and unfocused nature made all manner of routine business conduct presumptively unlawful. Philosopher-king judges handed down inconsistent rulings designed to punish political enemies or reward political allies. In Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s dissent to United States v. Von’s Grocery, he remarks: “The sole consistency that I can find is that in litigation under [Section 7 of the Clayton Act], the government always wins.” 

If confirmed, Khan would be instrumental in moving antitrust law back to this broken tradition. European-style antitrust legislation introduced last week by House Democrats would give the FTC sweeping new power and increased resources to regulate American companies. 

If Khan makes it on the FTC, the liberal activist-controlled agency would likely use its rulemaking authority to create substantive new antitrust law, circumventing Congress in the process. In such a hostile regulatory environment, companies afraid of aggressive and predatory antitrust litigation would be less likely to engage in robust competition that delivers low prices and quality products for American shoppers. In this new regime, instead of focusing on what is good for consumers, Biden bureaucrats would focus on what is good for Democrat political gain. 

For these reasons, Americans for Tax Reform urges all Senate Republicans to vote against Lina Khan’s confirmation. 

Photo Credit: Norman Maddeaux


Republicans Should Reject Cicilline Mega-Regulation Antitrust Package

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Friday, June 11th, 2021, 3:00 PM PERMALINK

Congressman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) has spearheaded of antitrust bills with several Democrat sponsors that would fundamentally rewrite antitrust law to the detriment of American shoppers. 

Cicilline is attempting to use conservative anger at Big Tech to persuade Republican lawmakers into giving the Biden Administration nearly unchecked power to regulate the entire economy. Many of these bills import European competition policy that has no precedent in American law. 

Make no mistake about it - these bills do nothing to address conservative concerns with Big Tech censorship. These bills are hardly antitrust bills. Taken together, these bills are a test run for unelected Democrats to regulate entire sectors of the American economy. 

Republicans should reject all of the below legislation:

H.R. 3826 – Platform Competition & Opportunity Act, sponsored by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)

The Platform Competition & Opportunity Act prohibits a handful of “covered” tech companies from acquiring software businesses. This bill will hamstring innovative businesses from making acquisitions that enable them to better compete with rival firms, improving choice and access to goods and services for all Americans in the process. 

If implemented, this bill would erode our competitiveness on the global stage at a time when Congress just passed a $250 billion piece of legislation that is supposed to boost our competitiveness with China. It would also close off a critical pathway to success for small startups, half of which say their most realistic long-term goal is to be acquired by a larger firm. 

H.R. 3816 – American Choice and Innovation Online Act, sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.)

The American Choice and Innovation Online Act would effectively ban covered platforms from selling or promoting their own private label products.

So-called “self-preferencing,” where businesses promote their own private label products next to brand name products, is not endemic to platform companies. Brick-and-mortar stores often promote their own generic goods on shelves next to brand-name goods, or with promotional devices like end-caps and window displays. 

Enacting a line-of-business restriction for platform companies would take away valuable products and services that shoppers value. Banning Amazon from selling AmazonBasics products is equivalent to banning Costco from selling Kirkland products - it makes no sense. 

The bill would also force platform companies to share sensitive personal user information with third parties, including app developers and foreign software. At the same time, the bill prohibits platforms from removing third-party sellers from their marketplaces. 

This would force platforms to host malicious apps and then share personal information of American consumers with the developers. 

H.R. 3842 – Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act, sponsored by Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.)

The Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act would substantially increase the resources of the Biden FTC controlled by left-wing activists like Acting Chair Rebecca Slaughter and potential Commissioner Lina Khan. 

This bill will expand the budget of the FTC at a time when the agency seems likely to use rulemaking authority to effectively create new substantive antitrust law, circumventing the legislative process and potentially implementing policy that Congress itself is unwilling to pass. The legislation will give money to unelected bureaucrats who intend to use the additional resources not just how they see fit, but to circumvent Congressional gridlock and input on antitrust law. 

H.R. 3825 – Ending Platform Monopolies Act, sponsored by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)

The Ending Platform Monopolies Act imposes structural separations on covered platforms that operate businesses that may create a "substantial incentive" to disadvantage competitors. Companies would have two years from their designation as a covered platform to sell off businesses that violate this bill's stringent requirements. If they fail to comply, "any person" involved with the company could face strict civil penalties of up to 30 percent of a year's revenue. 

H.R. 3849 – ACCESS Act, sponsored by Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Penn.) 

The ACCESS Act would force a few covered platform companies to disclose all their consumer data to competitors via a government-mandated “interface.” The bill would create massive privacy and liability issues, as companies would lose the ability to apply their own data security measures to information once it is imported to another platform. This would provide malicious hackers or criminals with a prime opportunity to circumvent security protocols implemented by certain platforms to access sensitive consumer data. 

Additionally, the ACCESS Act requires companies to petition the FTC to make any changes to interoperability standards. The FTC can deny requests based on any reason related to “undermining interoperability.” 

Taken together, these bills massively increase government power to regulate the economy. If passed into law, Biden bureaucrats would win, American shoppers would lose. 

Republican lawmakers need to vote NO on all five of these bills. 

Photo Credit: House Democratic Caucus


Biden Targets American Freelancers In Presidential Budget

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Tuesday, June 1st, 2021, 1:13 PM PERMALINK

President Joe Biden’s $6 trillion budget proposal includes $7.5 billion for “worker protection” efforts, including a new campaign to force independent contractors to reclassify as W-2 employees. 

This is part of the left’s government-wide, full-court press to destroy the gig economy and force every American to have a boss. If implemented, Biden’s plan would threaten the livelihoods of more than 58 million Americans that engage in freelance work. 

A crucial part of the gig economy’s success is that it allows Americans to put food on the table without the rigidity of a traditional employment relationship. By classifying as independent contractors, gig workers are free to set their own schedule and work at their own pace. 

As government-mandated lockdowns shuttered millions of businesses across the country, participation in the gig economy increased by 33 percent in 2020. Think of an Uber driver saving his earnings to start a business of his own, or a single mom selling crafts on Etsy to support her family. These are real Americans making ends meet and chasing their dreams, and will want these jobs around as we recover from the pandemic. 

The Biden budget funds executive branch efforts to end “the abusive practice of misclassifying employees as independent contractors.” The only problem? Independent contractors overwhelmingly prefer to remain independent contractors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than 1 in 10 independent contractors would prefer a traditional employment relationship to their current setup.

The data bears out for rideshare drivers as well. Democratic-leaning Benenson Strategy Group and Republican-leaning GS Strategy Group conducted a survey which found that 77 percent of drivers say flexibility is more important than receiving benefits, a margin of more than 3-to-1. Nearly 70% of drivers would quit if they had to take on a traditional employment role with Uber. Additionally, Americans consider rideshare drivers to be independent contractors and not employees by a 3 to 1 ratio according to a landmark Pew research survey. 

The Biden Administration pledges to work with Congress to develop “comprehensive legislation” to force millions of independent contractors to reclassify as traditional employees. Big Labor’s crown jewel, the “Protecting the Right to Organize” (PRO) Act, would do just that by implementing California’s “ABC” test for independent contractors on a nationwide basis. 

Under the ABC test, businesses must prove that a contractor is doing duties “outside the usual course of work of the hiring entity” and that “the worker customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.” This significantly limits the ability of businesses to retain contractors who may operate within the scope of work sometimes performed by employees in similar circumstances. It’s an unnecessary distinction that prohibits most businesses from working with independent contractors. 

The ABC test forced the mass reclassification of California’s independent contractors, more than 90 percent of whom opposed the ABC test reclassification before it was signed into law. The law was so unpopular that 59 percent of Californians voted for Proposition 22, a ballot initiative that exempted rideshare drivers from the ABC test.  

Ultimately, the Biden budget shows that the Administration will use every tool in its arsenal to force the mass reclassification of American independent contractors, the vast majority of whom prefer the flexibility of freelancing to the rigidity of traditional employment. As our economy attempts to recover from the pandemic, the last thing we need to do is to kill job opportunities for millions of American freelancers. 

Photo Credit: The White House (Potus at Instagram), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

More from Americans for Tax Reform


Biden’s 87,000 New IRS Agents Will Generate Cash for Democrat Campaign Coffers

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Thursday, May 20th, 2021, 1:30 PM PERMALINK

President Joe Biden plans to shovel $80 billion into the Internal Revenue Service to hire 86,852 new agents, a Treasury Department report confirmed Thursday. 

This massive influx of IRS agents would lead to a surge in union dues paid to the left-wing National Treasury Employees Union, which collects dues from roughly 70,000 current IRS employees. 97 percent of the union's political spending goes to Democrats.

These contributions overwhelmingly benefit the Democrat Party: 

  • The left-wing NTEU represents 150,000 taxpayer-funded federal employees across 31 departments and agencies. Existing IRS employees comprise nearly half of NTEU’s total membership. 

  • NTEU’s dues range from $16 per pay period to $23 per pay period, and IRS agents are paid biweekly. If all 86,852 Biden IRS agents were forced to unionize, here is the breakdown of the windfall the NTEU stands to reap: 

    • If all new Biden agents were Grades 1-5: $33,351,168 in new dues per year

    • If all new Biden agents were Grades 6-10: $39,604,512 in new dues per year

    • If all new Biden agents were Grades 11-15: $47,942,304 in new dues per year

  • NTEU shovels 97 percent of its PAC money into Democrat campaign coffers. In the 2019-2020 campaign cycle, NTEU’s political action committee raised $838,288. Out of $609,000 in spending on federal candidates, an overwhelming 97.04 percent went to Democrats.

  • The massive influx in union dues generated by the Biden IRS agents will likely lead to a corresponding increase in NTEU PAC spending on Democrat candidates.

  • IRS employees regularly perform Democrat union work on the taxpayer dime. In fiscal year 2013, IRS employees spent over 500,000 hours on union activity, costing taxpayers $23.5 million in salary and benefits. To add insult to injury, the IRS had at least 40 out of 201 workers solely devoted to union activities that made $100,000. 

The $80 billion Biden IRS bailout is just another way to funnel taxpayer money to progressive candidates and causes. 

Photo Credit: Matt Johnson


ATR Supports Rep. Harshbarger's "Freedom To Work Act"

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Thursday, May 20th, 2021, 10:30 AM PERMALINK

Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-Tenn.) has introduced H.R. 3145, the “Freedom To Work Act,” legislation that directs the federal government to reduce policies that lead to burdensome occupational licensing requirements at the state level. 

Americans for Tax Reform supports this legislation and urges its swift passage through Congress. 

An occupational license is a permission slip from the government that states that an individual is certified to work in a certain industry. In order to obtain this permission slip, workers must undergo costly and time-consuming training, facing stiff penalties or even jail time if they fail to do so. 

While politicians claim that these government permission slips are a matter of public health and safety, occupational licensing impacts a wide swath of industries unrelated to public health. For example, to obtain a license to practice African hair braiding in Pennsylvania, applicants must spend over $4,000 and 300 hours in training. 

Onerous occupational licensing requirements prevent thousands of Americans from entering the workforce every day. 25 percent of occupations now require a government license, versus 5 percent sixty years ago. These mandates cost American consumers $203 billion annually, reduce the number of American jobs by 2.85 million, and create a massive barrier to entry for middle and low-income workers seeking to start their careers. 

Even though occupational licensing requirements are mainly promulgated at the state level, the federal government has a role to play in ensuring that federal policies, grants, or contracts do not set unnecessary licensing requirements. 

H.R. 3145 works to reduce occupational licensing burdens in three steps:

  1. Direct federal agencies to regularly review policies that may cause states to adopt unnecessary occupational licensing requirements.
     

  2. Require federal agencies to submit a report to the President and Congress detailing recommended changes to federal law to allow less onerous alternatives to licensing.
     

  3. Direct states to detail the steps they are taking to reduce occupational licensing requirements, as well as broader occupational licensing reforms occurring in the state. 

As our economy recovers from government-mandated lockdowns, the last thing Americans need is costly government permission slips just to get a job. The Freedom to Work Act is an important step towards reducing onerous and unnecessary occupational licensing requirements at the state and federal level. 


OOPS: Every House Democrat Endorsed By U.S. Chamber Voted for Job-Killing Biden Bucks

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Friday, May 7th, 2021, 4:30 PM PERMALINK

The U.S. economy added an anemic 266,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate rose to 6.1 percent, a far cry from Dow Jones estimates which predicted 1 million new jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent.

The U.S. Chamber of Congress, the world’s largest pro-business trade association, issued a press release blaming the anemic jobs numbers on President Biden’s supplemental $300-per-week unemployment payments, saying: 

“One step policymakers should take now is ending the $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit. Based on the Chamber’s analysis, the $300 benefit results in approximately one in four recipients taking home more in unemployment than they earned working.” 

Of course, the Chamber is correct – paying people not to work is a massive disincentive for Americans to return to work. At the current federal unemployment supplement level of $300, 37 percent of workers make more on unemployment than at work.

The unfortunate part for the U.S. Chamber is that every single House Democrat the trade association endorsed in the 2020 election cycle voted to extend the 300-per-week “Biden Bucks.”

The $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021” passed the House on a narrow 219-212 vote in February.  Of the 23 House Democrats endorsed by the U.S. Chamber during the 2020 election cycle, 15 won re-election. All 15 of these Democrats voted to pass the American Rescue Plan which extended the Biden Bucks program through Labor Day. 

The U.S. Chamber’s endorsement of 23 House Democrats was a notable increase compared to prior years. During the 2018 cycle, the Chamber reportedly endorsed only 7 House Democrats. According to the U.S. Chamber’s own assessment of its impact on the 2020 House elections, the “U.S. Chamber endorsements are known to have a big impact and that rang true in 2020.”

Below are the House Democrats endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who voted in favor of the American Rescue Plan and the percentage of the vote they received as candidates during the 2020 election.

  1. Rep. Colin Allred (TX-32), won re-election with 51.9% of the vote.

  2. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (TX-7), won re-election with 50.8% of the vote.

  3. Rep. Haley Stevens (MI-11), won re-election with 50.2% of the vote.

  4. Rep. Josh Harder (CA-10), won re-election with 55.2% of the vote.

  5. Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-3), won re-election with 49.7% of the vote.

  6. Rep. Susie Lee (NV-3), won re-election with 48.8% of the vote.

  7. Rep. Angie Craig (MN-2), won re-election with 48.2% of the vote.

  8. Rep. Andy Kim (NJ-03), won re-election with 53.2% of the vote.

  9. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-7), won re-election with 50.9% of the vote.

  10. Rep. Sharice David (KS-03), won re-election with 53.6% of the vote.

  11. Rep. Antonio Delgado (NY-19), won re-election with 54.2% of the vote.

  12. Rep. Elaine Luria (VA-2), won re-election with 51.5% of the vote.

  13. Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-3), won re-election with 55.6% of the vote.

  14. Rep. Greg Stanton (AZ-9), won re-election with 61.6% of the vote.

  15. Rep. David Trone (MD-6), won re-election with 58.9% of the vote.

 

Photo Credit: Ron Cogswell


70+ Groups, Activists to Congress: Oppose the PRO Act

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Wednesday, May 5th, 2021, 11:00 AM PERMALINK

ATR has released a letter to Congress from over 70 groups and activists opposed to the "Protecting the Right to Organize" (PRO) Act.

If implemented, the PRO Act would drastically increase the Big Labor's power at the expense of the American worker. 

You can read the letter here or below: 

May 5, 2021

Dear Member of Congress,

We are writing in opposition to the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. The PRO Act, introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), passed the House on March 9, 2021 and is pending Senate consideration.

We oppose the PRO Act because the legislation would harm workers and taxpayers by codifying many of the Obama-era rules and decisions that led to higher unemployment and a stagnant economy. Representatives who vote for this bill are simply helping labor union bosses, their campaign contributors, at the expense of American workers.

For example, one of the Act’s harmful provisions would codify the National Labor Relations Board’s 2015 Browning-Ferris Industries decision. That decision expanded the definition of joint employer and increased liability for many businesses, especially franchises. In fact, the International Franchise Association has found that the expanded joint employer rule costs the franchise sector as much as $33.3 billion annually and has led to 376,000 lost job opportunities. Codifying this NLRB decision would effectively eliminate this business model, putting many employees and small businesses out of work. However, big labor would benefit from this provision because they could unionize these employees more easily.

This bill would also force all private sector workers to pay fees to labor unions, whether they wanted to support them or not. This would effectively invalidate all state Right-to-Work laws and would deny First Amendment rights to these workers. This provision hurts workers because right-to-work laws have benefited workers. From 2008 – 2018, for example, the percentage growth in the number of people employed in right-to-work states was 10.8%, while the percentage for those in forced-unionism states was much lower at 5%. Invalidating these laws would, therefore, hurt workers and employers, but would provide more dues to unions.

Another business model that is severely threatened by this legislation is the gig economy. The PRO Act would codify California’s “ABC” test to determine who is an independent contractor and who is an employee. This test makes it harder for employers to hire independent contractors, but makes it easier for unions to unionize workers. According to the Federal Reserve, about 3 in 10 Americans work in the gig economy, and these workers would be at risk for losing their jobs.

Because the legislation harms workers in order to help labor union bosses, we strongly urge Members of Congress to vote against the PRO Act.

Sincerely,

Grover G. Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

James L. Martin
Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association

Saulius "Saul" Anuzis
President, 60 Plus Association

Marty Connors
Alabama Center/Right Coalition

Bethany Marcum
CEO, Alaska Policy Forum

Phil Kerpen
President, American Commitment

Lisa B. Nelson
CEO, ALEC Action

Tom Giovanetti
President, Americans for a Strong Economy

Rick Manning
President, Americans for Limited Government

Scot Mussi
President, Arizona Free Enterprise Club

John Palatiello
President, Business Coalition for Fair Competition

Garrett Ballengee
Executive Director, Cardinal Institute for WV Policy

Andrew F. Quinlan
President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Russell Brown
President, Center for Independent Employees CEO, RWP Labor, LLC

Timothy Lee
Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs, Center for Individual Freedom

Catrin Wigfall
Policy Fellow, Center of the American Experiment (Minnesota)

Chuck Muth
President, Citizen Outreach

Bob Luebke
Director of Policy, Civitas Institute (North Carolina)

David McIntosh
President, Club for Growth

Russell Hollrah
Executive Director, Coalition to Promote Independent Entrepreneurs

Nathan Benefield
Vice President & COO, Commonwealth Foundation (Pennsylvania)

Trey Kovacs
Policy Analyst, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Matthew Kandrach
President, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy (CASE)

Tom Schatz
President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Katie McAuliffe
Executive Director, Digital Liberty

Grant Callen
President, Empower Mississippi

Brian Minnich
Executive Vice President, Freedom Foundation (California, Oregon, Washington)

Adam Brandon
President, FreedomWorks

Suzi Voyles
Georgia President for Eagle Forum

Victor Riches
President and CEO, Goldwater Institute (Arizona)

J. Scott Moody
CEO, Granite Institute (New Hampshire)

James Taylor
President, The Heartland Institute

Peter J. Ferrara
Senior Fellow, Heartland Institute

Tim Chapman
Executive Director, Heritage Action for America

Mario H. Lopez
President, Hispanic Leadership Fund

Fred Birnbaum
Vice President, Idaho Freedom Foundation and Idaho Freedom Action

Heather R. Higgins
CEO, Independent Women's Voice

Jon Caldara
President, Independence Institute

F. Vincent Vernuccio, J.D.
President, Institute for the American Worker

Chris Ingstad
President, Iowans for Tax Relief

Sal J. Nuzzo
Vice President of Policy, The James Madison Institute (Florida)

Brett Healy
President, The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy (Wisconsin)

Becki Gray
Senior Vice President, John Locke Foundation (North Carolina)

Dave Trabert
President, Kansas Policy Institute

Connor Boyack
President, Libertas Institute (Utah)

Michael J. Reitz
Executive Vice President, Mackinac Center for Public Policy (Michigan)

Matthew Gagnon
CEO, Maine Heritage Policy Center

Carl Copeland
Executive Director, Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance

Tim Jones
Chair, Missouri Center-Right Coalition
Fmr. Speaker, Missouri House

Jameson Taylor, Ph.D.
Vice President for Policy, Mississippi Center for Public Policy

Pete Sepp
President, National Taxpayers Union

Bill O'Brien
Co-chair of the New Hampshire Center Right Coalition

Robert Fellner
Policy Director, Nevada Policy Research Institute

Douglas Kellogg
Executive Director, Ohioans for Tax Reform

Tom Hebert                                                                                                          
Executive Director, Open Competition Center

Daniel J Erspamer
CEO, The Pelican Institute for Public Policy (Louisiana)

Lorenzo Montanari
Executive Director, Property Rights Alliance

David Y. Denholm
President, Public Service Research Council

Eli Lehrer
President, R Street Institute

Mike Stenhouse
CEO, Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Paul J. Gessing
President, Rio Grande Foundation (New Mexico)

Bette Grande
CEO, Roughrider Policy Center ND

Karen Kerrigan
President & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Maureen Blum
Founder and Principal, Strategic Coalitions & Initiatives, LLC

Jeff Kropf
Representative (Ret) Oregon House of Representatives, Oregon Taxpayer Coalition

David Williams
President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Lynn Taylor
President, Tertium Quids (Virginia)

Christian N. Braunlich
President, Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy (Virginia)

Carl Bearden
CEO, United for Missouri

Rick Esenberg
President and General Counsel, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty           

Worker Rights Alliance (Washington)

Heather Greenaway
Executive Director, Workforce Fairness Institute

Carol Platt Liebau
President, Yankee Institute for Public Policy (Connecticut)

Photo Credit: Jason Chan


SURVEY: 61% Of Small Businesses Say PRO Act Will Kill Their Business

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Thursday, April 29th, 2021, 12:30 PM PERMALINK

A new survey from Alignable shows that 61% of American small businesses say that the left-wing “Protecting the Right to Organize” (PRO) Act will kill their business. The PRO Act is sweeping legislation that will drastically increase organized labor’s power at the expense of the American worker. 

The PRO Act nationalizes California’s “ABC” test for independent contractors that would force companies to hire freelancers as W-2 employees. Companies hire freelancers for a variety of reasons, including expertise, specialized skills, or fulfilling a project-based need. Independent contractors all across the country prefer the flexibility of freelancing to the rigidity of a traditional employment arrangement. 

The survey shows that a national ABC test could lead to freelancers losing 76 percent of their business. Additionally, 40 percent of businesses said that they would need to turn away work projects that would require freelancers to complete. 45 percent of all small businesses would ultimately be forced to shut down due to the lack of freelancers. 

The PRO Act would be devastating for minority-owned businesses, 62 percent of which say they are “vitally or highly dependent” on side hustles to make a living. Similarly, 67 percent of women-owned businesses say they would lose most of their revenue under the PRO Act, along with 45 percent of veteran-owned businesses. 

Ultimately, the PRO Act is a very real threat to small businesses across the board. Congress should vote against the PRO Act and all of its provisions if proposed in separate legislation or included in a larger bill. 

Photo Credit: Randy von Liski


Biden Labor Task Force A Last-Ditch Lifeline To Humiliated Union Bosses

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Wednesday, April 28th, 2021, 12:30 PM PERMALINK

President Joe Biden has created a task force to find ways to leverage government power to increase union membership. Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will lead the task force composed of more than twenty Cabinet and agency heads. 

Make no mistake about it – Biden’s labor task force is nothing but a last-ditch lifeline to humiliated union bosses, and American workers will pay the price. 

Within 180 days, the task force must provide recommendations on two issues:

  • How to use existing legislation or government power to increase union membership

  • What future policies need to be imposed to increase union membership

Whatever recommendations the task force provides will be unlikely to stop the membership bleed organized labor has suffered over the past five decades. In 1954, 34.8 percent of American workers were in a union – in 2020, just 10.8 percent of workers were unionized.

Unions have continued to take a beating during the Biden presidency, despite Biden’s promise to be the “most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.” Organized labor’s most recent embarrassment was a crushing loss in Bessemer, Alabama, where 71 percent of Amazon warehouse workers voted against unionization. The final tally was a lopsided 1,798 votes against unionization to 738 votes for unionization.

One of the task force’s top recommendations will likely be passage of the “Protecting the Right to Organize” (PRO) Act, the left’s other lifeline to Big Labor. 

The PRO Act is a grab-bag of liberal provisions designed to screw over American workers. Key provisions would: 

  • Violate worker privacy by forcing employers to give union organizer sensitive employee contact information, including home addresses, cell phone and landline numbers, and email addresses. This would allow union bosses to intimidate workers into joining unions at homes or workplaces.

  • Nullify state Right-to-Work laws, which protect 166 million Americans in 27 states from being forced to pay union dues just to get a job.

  • Change union elections to allow union bosses to collect cards from workers to demonstrate support for the union, rather than holding a secret ballot election.

  • Nationalize California’s “ABC” test for independent contractors, which has forced the mass reclassification of California's independent contractors and limited freelance opportunities statewide. More than 57 million freelancers could risk losing work if the ABC test were adopted at the federal level.

  • Codify the expanded joint employer standard, severely harming franchises and their employees.

  • Codify shortened representation election time frames, giving the unions a large advantage in these elections by shortening the time for debate over unionization.

The fact is, American workers just aren’t buying what unions are selling, and haven’t for decades. The Biden labor task force’s mission is to figure out how to use government power to force as many Americans into unions as possible. 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


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