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Biden’s executive order supporting Right to Repair should boost campaign in Illinois

President calling on FTC to set new rules that could have broad impact
For Immediate Release

President Joe Biden signed a wide-ranging executive order Friday to “promote competition in the American economy.” The 72 different initiatives included an order calling on the “FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to issue rules against anti-competitive restrictions on using independent repair shops or doing DIY repairs of your own devices and equipment.” A fact sheet from the White House singles out cell phones and tractors as specific products subject to the order.  

The federal action builds on Right to Repair reforms introduced in states across the country, including in Illinois, in recent years. These proposals would require manufacturers to provide fair access to what we need to fix modern products —  spare parts, service manuals and diagnostic software tools. 

“We have been working on Right to Repair in Illinois because we believe people should be able to fix their stuff -- and, apparently, so does the president of the United States,” said Abe Scarr, Illinois PIRG Director. “More repair choices will protect the environment by cutting down on the amount of new electronics we make and old stuff we toss. More choices help save money and cut down-time waiting for the manufacturer's technician, which is especially important for farmers on tight planting or harvesting schedules.This national progress will boost our work here in Illinois.”

“We know from experience in Springfield that the opposition to Right to Repair is fierce. But with every passing day, more and more people realize that it’s best for consumers, farmers and the planet if they can repair their products,” said State Representative Michelle Mussman, sponsor of Right to Repair legislation. “It’s time to deliver results for Illinois residents and put Right to Repair rules in place.” 

“Until recently, American farmers fixed their own equipment when it broke, or they took it to their repair shop of choice. But over the last few decades, manufacturers have made it harder and harder to do this, all but forcing farmers to take their broken machinery to a licensed dealership for repairs – which can be inconvenient, restrictive, and expensive,” said Rob Larew, President, National Farmers Union. “We greatly appreciate that the Biden administration has taken note of this problem and is taking steps to give farmers the freedom to repair their equipment how and where they please.”

Right to Repairs efforts have gained significant momentum in recent years but also face significant opposition. A PIRG study found that companies that contribute to lobbying efforts against Right to Repair are cumulatively worth about $10.7 trillion

“We’ve gone from zero to 27 states in six years because protecting repair is the right thing to do, and people get it,” said Gay Gordon-Byrne, the Executive Director of Repair.org, a coalition group which has organizing state campaigns on Right to Repair. “This order adds energy to all our efforts. We plan to keep going until people can fix their stuff.”

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