Sens. fight nations’ efforts to extort U.S. green science

Understanding the severe impact that making such concessions during these negotiations would have on innovation, jobs and our economy — not to mention our ability to create the technologies needed to address climate change — Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) rallied their colleagues to defend intellectual property (IP) and took their concerns directly to President Barack Obama.

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce commends Bayh, Voinovich, and their 40 other Senate colleagues for writing to the president, and for recognizing that IP rights provide a crucial incentive for innovators to develop the products that improve our lives and help solve the problems we face — including the world’s growing need for “greener” technologies and cleaner energy sources.

In defending innovation, Sens. Bayh and Voinovich also acted on behalf of their home states, as IP-related industries are leading contributors of jobs and livelihoods in Indiana and Ohio.

Indiana’s innovative industries employ more than 70,000 high-tech workers, more than 49,000 employees in the biosciences sector and over 10,000 doctoral scientists and engineers. The software industry alone contributes almost $10 million in wages to the state economy, and recent data estimates a 12.5 percent increase over one year in the number of Indiana businesses involved in copyright work.

In Ohio, more than 600 aerospace companies employ approximately 66,000 people within the state. Home to the nation’s top polymer industry, Ohio’s 2,800 polymer companies employ more than 140,000 people, generating approximately $50 billion in annual revenues. The software industry in Ohio employs more than 3,600 people who earn over $283 million in wages.

The Chamber thanks Sens. Bayh and Voinovich for recognizing this, and working to protect such a crucial component of economic competitiveness.

Washington


No health bill will please all members of a group

From Bruce Hahn, president, American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance

While there are pros and cons in the House health reform bill for AARP and other organizations with very diverse memberships (like ours), it is conjecture on Rep. Phil Gingrey’s (R-Ga.) part to conclude that institutional self-interest was AARP’s reason for endorsing it (op-ed, “AARP shows more interest in its bottom line than help for seniors,” Jan. 18).

The legislation is very complex, and most of our members will benefit. If our standard was to only endorse bills that benefited 100 percent of our members and had no downside for any of them, we would never be able to take positions on complicated legislation. The real question to ask, and which AARP’s Tom Nelson answered (“Gingrey falsely says AARP favors money over seniors,” letter to the editor, Jan. 28), is whether an organization’s governance has been subverted: Have the oversight committees, executive committee, and board of directors not been consulted, or were they misled?

Rep. Gingrey offered no evidence to suggest that this has occurred, and Mr. Nelson pointed out that AARP’s stances are determined by a board of volunteers from across the U.S. and driven by members’ interests. I’ve served as a volunteer in AARP’s Virginia chapter for several years and have observed that AARP is member-driven on policy issues at that level.

... It looks increasingly like we will have to go back to the drawing board on  a health bill.  Whatever happens, we hope we can go forward without the kinds of recriminations and personal attacks that have characterized much of the debate so far.

Arlington, Va.