Orrin Hatch on Technology

Republican Sr Senator (UT)


Internet will not replace touching in stores

Q: Do you support taxing Internet commerce? A: I know that most women, like my wife Elaine, like to go and walk through the stores and touch the things that they buy. So I’m not afraid of that and I think we ought to keep taxes out of the Internet. If there comes a time when they have to be in there because of fairness, that’s another matter, but right now, I’m totally against having any taxation of the Internet.
Source: Republican debate in West Columbia, South Carolina , Jan 7, 2000

No toll booths on the information superhighway

McCAIN [to Hatch]: Congress a couple years ago passed an Internet tax moratorium. Don’t you think it’s incumbent upon us with this incredibly economy that’s being generated by the Internet that we should make that Internet tax prohibition permanent?

HATCH: The Clinton-Gore people, they want to put a toll booth every mile on the information superhighway. this is not the time to tax the Internet, if ever.

Source: Republican Debate in Durham, NH , Jan 6, 2000

Keep government’s mitts off the Internet

McCAIN [to Hatch]: Orrin, you & I have worked on a couple very important pieces of legislation in the past few years. One of them is the Y2K Product Liability Reform Act, which was very important to keep us from experiencing a flood of litigation as a result of the year 2000. The other one was the Internet Tax Moratorium Act. As you know, this was stoutly resisted by governors, Republican governors as well. Don’t you think we ought to make the Internet tax moratorium permanent?

HATCH: Yeah, we ought to do it because it’s far overblown to think that people buying over the Internet is going to [hurt store sales]. But we [should] be encouraging one of the most important innovations in the history of the world, the Internet. And I’ll tell you what I’m worried about: the almighty hand of the federal government coming in & oppressing the Internet & stifling innovation and creativity. We want to keep government’s mitts off as much as we can. And if we do, we’ll reap the benefits from it.

Source: (cross-ref. from McCain) Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate , Dec 7, 1999

Provide trademark protection against “cybersquatting”

I [support] legislation to address bad-faith and abusive registration of Internet domain names in violation of the rights of trademark owners. For the Net-savvy, this is known as “cybersquatting.” For example, Intel was forced to deal with a cybersquatter who registered the “pentium3.com” domain and used it to post pornographic images. It is time to clarify the rights of trademark owners, by providing clear deterrence to cybersquatting, and by providing adequate remedies where it does occur.
Source: Statement before the Committee on the Judiciary , Jul 29, 1999

Limit Y2K lawsuits’ speed, liability, & punitive damages

The Y2K problem and its associated harms will occur only once. We must avoid a litigious environment so severe that the computer industry’s remediation efforts will slacken.
Source: senate.gov/~hatch “Y2K Act” , Apr 27, 1999

Address Internet concerns as we have with other tech

Any revolutionary, paradigm-shifting technology presents government with new policy challenges. The Internet is no exception. I recently read that earlier in this century there were concerns about the sale of automobiles to the public as it provided crooks with a tool to escape the police. Luckily, we found a way to address the automobile “concern.” It is my hope that we can do the same for any concerns that surround the Internet.
Source: Statement before the Judiciary Committee , Apr 21, 1999

Promote Internet privacy without hindering growth

Consumer rights groups would give government regulatory bodies the authority to regulate conduct on the Internet. Members of the industry would entrust the industry to regulate itself without any role for the government. I believe we should explore whether another solution exists. One that aims to respect both the need to foster continued growth of the electronic marketplace and the need to enforce any rules for the protection of consumer privacy.
Source: Statement before the Judiciary Committee , Apr 21, 1999

Supports permanent research tax credit

Research & Development increases labor productivity, leading to better paying jobs for American workers. The research and experimentation (R&E) tax credit is very effective in stimulating more R&D. For the R&E Tax Credit to reach its full effectiveness, it must be made permanent. The R&E tax credit has been extended nine times since 1981, and it is due to expire again at the end of June. The past uncertainty surrounding the credit has induced business leaders to allocate significantly less to R&D.
Source: Press Conference , Mar 22, 1999

Prohibit alcohol sales to minors via phone & Internet

Problems associated with interstate shipments of alcohol are growing. While I certainly believe that interstate commerce should be encouraged, the States need to ensure that minors are not provided with unfettered access to alcohol. Today, a winery can accept orders over the internet; a large retailer can accept orders over the phone. [States cannot restrict such sales due to 21st Amendment limitations, so I propose an enforcement] mechanism permitting federal court to stop those illegal shipments.
Source: Statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee , Mar 9, 1999

Antitrust applies when monopolist thwarts paradigm shift

I support antitrust enforcement - provided that it is appropriately limited and grounded in sound economic principles. Antitrust policy should focus on the transition from one technology to the next - on so-called paradigm shifts in computing. The explosion of the Internet represents a paradigm-shift. If the incumbent monopolist exercises predatory market power to prevent healthy competition [towards the new paradigm], innovation is chilled, & all of us-investors and consumers alike-pay the price.
Source: Speech before the “Upside Summit” , Sep 17, 1998

Distinguish between fair competition & predatory monopoly

The critical question is how a dominant firm exercises its market power with respect to the new guy. Does this new firm, offering a new technology that may replace the old firm’s entrenched monopoly, have a legitimate opportunity to compete in the marketplace? Distinguishing between tough but fair competition on the one hand, and unfair, predatory use of monopoly power on the other hand, is a difficult task, and one which should be approached by antitrust enforcers with due caution and diligence.
Source: Speech before the “Upside Summit” , Sep 17, 1998

Microsoft’s pattern leads to a proprietary Internet

What I see is a striking pattern of behavior. A Microsoft competitor emerges; Microsoft coopts the technology, gives it away as “part of the operating system,” and does everything in its power to choke the competitor’s product out of the key distribution channels. The “browser war” was but a battle within the much broader war for Microsoft to control the Internet. In the end, the marketplace should be permitted to choose whether it wants a proprietary Internet. I think I know what the answer would be.
Source: Speech before the “Upside Summit” , Sep 17, 1998

Antitrust today, or Internet regulation tomorrow

Giving Microsoft a free pass to monopolize Internet-related technologies would ultimately lead to some form of government regulation that is far more intrusive than enforcement of the antitrust laws. Let me suggest to those of you who abhor the regulatory state that you give this some thought: Vigilant and effective antitrust enforcement today is far preferable than the heavy hand of government regulation of the Internet tomorrow.
Source: Speech before the “Upside Summit” , Sep 17, 1998

Voted NO on authorizing states to collect Internet sales taxes.

Congressional Summary: The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 authorizes each state to require all sellers with sales exceeding $1 million in the preceding calendar year to collect and remit sales and use taxes, but only if complying with the minimum simplification requirements relating to the administration of such taxes & audits.

Opponent's Argument for voting No (Cnet.com): Online retailers are objecting to S.743, saying it's unreasonable to expect small businesses to comply with the detailed--and sometimes conflicting--regulations of nearly 10,000 government tax collectors. S.743 caps years of lobbying by the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represent big box stores. President Obama also supports the bill.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Sen. COLLINS. This bill rectifies a fundamental unfairness in our current system. Right now, Main Street businesses have to collect sales taxes on every transaction, but outbecause -of-state Internet sellers don't have to charge this tax, they enjoy a price advantage over the mom-and-pop businesses. This bill would allow States to collect sales taxes on Internet sales, thereby leveling the playing field with Main Street businesses. This bill does not authorize any new or higher tax, nor does it impose an Internet tax. It simply helps ensure that taxes already owed are paid.

Opponent's Argument for voting No: Sen. WYDEN: This bill takes a function that is now vested in government--State tax collection--and outsources that function to small online retailers. The proponents say it is not going to be hard for small businesses to handle this--via a lot of new computer software and the like. It is, in fact, not so simple. There are more than 5,000 taxing jurisdictions in our country. Some of them give very different treatment for products and services that are almost identical.

Reference: Marketplace Fairness Act; Bill S.743 ; vote number 13-SV113 on May 6, 2013

Voted YES on $23B instead of $4.9B for waterway infrastructure.

Vote on overriding Pres. Bush's veto. The bill reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States. The bill authorizes flood control, navigation, and environmental projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers. Also authorizes projects for navigation, ecosystem or environmental restoration, and hurricane, flood, or storm damage reduction in 23 states including Louisiana.

Veto message from President Bush:

This bill lacks fiscal discipline. I fully support funding for water resources projects that will yield high economic and environmental returns. Each year my budget has proposed reasonable and responsible funding, including $4.9 billion for 2008, to support the Army Corps of Engineers' main missions. However, this authorization bill costs over $23 billion. This is not fiscally responsible, particularly when local communities have been waiting for funding for projects already in the pipeline. The bill's excessive authorization for over 900 projects and programs exacerbates the massive backlog of ongoing Corps construction projects, which will require an additional $38 billion in future appropriations to complete. This bill does not set priorities. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.

Reference: Veto override on Water Resources Development Act; Bill Veto override on H.R. 1495 ; vote number 2007-406 on Nov 8, 2007

Voted YES on restoring $550M in funding for Amtrak for 2007.

An amendment to provide an additional $550,000,000 for Amtrak for fiscal year 2007. Voting YEA would increase Amtrak funding from $900 million to $1.45 billion. Voting NAY would keep Amtrak funding at $900 million.
Reference: Santorum amendment to Transportation funding bill; Bill S.Amdt.3015 to S.Con.Res.83 ; vote number 2006-052 on Mar 15, 2006

Voted NO on disallowing FCC approval of larger media conglomerates.

Vote to pass a joint resolution expressing congressional disapproval of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission. The rule would therefore have no force or effect. The rule in question deals with broadcast media ownership and would allow media conglomerates to own more television stations and newspapers.
Reference: FCC Media Ownership bill; Bill S J Res 17/H.J.RES.72 ; vote number 2003-348 on Sep 16, 2003

Voted YES on Internet sales tax moratorium.

Vote against allowing states to require companies who do business in their state solely by phone, mail, or the Internet to collect state sales taxes. [Current law does not require companies to collect sales taxes where the customer is out of state]
Reference: Bill S.442 ; vote number 1998-296 on Oct 2, 1998

Voted YES on telecomm deregulation.

Deregulation of the telecommunications industry.
Status: Telecommunications Competition and Deregulation Act of 1995 Y)91; N)5; NV)3
Reference: Conference Report on S. 625, the; Bill S. 652 ; vote number 1996-8 on Feb 1, 1996

Withdrew support for policing websites for copyright.

Hatch signed PIPA: PROTECT IP Act

Congressional Summary:Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, or the PROTECT IP Act, or PIPA (in the House, Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA) :

OnTheIssues Notes: SOPA and PIPA, proponents claim, would better protect electronic copyright ("IP", or Intellectual Property). Opponents argue that SOPA and PIPA would censor the Internet. Internet users and entrepreneurs oppose the two bills; google.com and wikipedia.com held a "blackout" on Jan. 18, 2012 in protest. An alternative bill, the OPEN Act was proposed on Jan. 18 to protect intellectual property without censorship; internet businesses prefer the OPEN Act while the music and movie industries prefer SOPA and PIPA.

Source: HR3261/S968 11-S968 on May 12, 2011

Other candidates on Technology: Orrin Hatch on other issues:
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