PRO-IP Bill: What’s Left To Do?

By October 10, 2008General

Everyone hopes the President will sign it.

As we head into the weekend, the PRO-IP Act (S. 3325) still awaits being signed by the President, and there’s nothing left to do but…well, you get it.  But what I don’t get is why it’s taking so long to sign the bill?  Manufacturers are for it (which should be reason enough for any President to sign it), labor is for it, the whole dang business community is for it, and it’s a great piece of bi-partisan legislation (but to the best of my knowledge, though, I don’t know if the counterfeiters have weighed in yet).  National Journal’s Congress Daily ran a piece Wednesda on how industry is hopping up and down in expectation of a signing (subscription). Excerpt:

Key House and Senate Republicans, joined by some of Washington’s top lobbyists, are pressing President Bush to sign legislation aimed at bolstering government efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy. The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent and won overwhelming House approval just before lawmakers left Washington Friday. But the measure has faced administration opposition because of language that would replace the government’s interagency council for coordinating intellectual property enforcement with a high-level White House official who would oversee a broad IP agenda. President Bush has until Tuesday to sign or veto the bill or it automatically becomes law.

Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, an original co-sponsor of the bill, wrote Tuesday to White House Chief of Staff Bolten urging him to recommend that Bush approve the legislation, which Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy introduced in July. Signing the bill “would be a fitting achievement and legacy,” he said. House Judiciary ranking member Lamar Smith, who co-sponsored his chamber’s version, wrote to Bush the same day, arguing that the new IP post is “not merely desirable, but necessary. … Only an official who answers directly to the president will have the authority to transcend agencies’ boundaries [and] overcome bureaucratic inertia and barriers.” Smith added that the position is not without precedent, citing several examples of Congress providing direct statutory authority to the Executive Office of the President, including the creation of the Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Trade Representative.

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