Thomas Massie

Thomas Massie

KENTUCKY's 4th DISTRICT

PRESS RELEASE: Reps. Jones, Lynch, And Massie Urge President Obama to Release 9/11 Papers

2016/04/19

JONES, LYNCH, AND MASSIE URGE PRESIDENT OBAMA TO RELEASE 9/11 PAPERS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3), Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (MA-8) and Congressman Thomas Massie (KY-4) have sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to release the 28 redacted pages of the Congressional Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 2001 before his trip to Saudi Arabia this week. Many members of both the Joint Inquiry and the 9/11 Commission publicly support declassifying the 28 pages, along with a large bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress.

“I have read these pages and can say that while their release will not harm national security, the contents are critical to our foreign policy moving forward. I think it’s important that President Obama release the 28 pages—like he promised the 9/11 families he would do on multiple occasions—before his trip to Saudi Arabia so that the American people can know the truth and his trip is as fruitful as possible,” said Congressman Jones.

"We owe it to the families of the innocent victims and to the American people to provide a full accounting of the circumstances surrounding the September 11th terrorist attacks. Declassifying the 28 pages is an important step towards answering some of the questions that remain and it is a matter of justice and good governance to do so in 2016," said Congressman Lynch. 

"President Obama should immediately declassify these pages. Before we involve ourselves in Syria, elected officials and their constituents need to know more about the events leading up to September 11. Understanding what enabled this tragedy to occur is fundamental to drafting a strategy for the Middle East," said Rep. Massie. “I also challenge my colleagues in Congress to read the pages on behalf of their constituents and immediately cosponsor H. Res 14.”

Last year, Congressmen Jones, Lynch, and Massie introduced H. Res. 14, a resolution to call on President Obama to declassify the 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry that were initially classified by President George W. Bush and have remained classified under President Barack Obama.  The resolution states that declassification of the pages is necessary to provide the American public with the full truth surrounding the tragic events of September 11, 2001, particularly relating to the involvement of foreign governments. 

For additional information, please contact Maria Jeffrey in Congressman Jones’ office at (202) 225-3415 or maria.jeffrey@mail.house.gov; Elizabeth Zappala in Congressman Lynch’s office at 202-226-1918 or at Elizabeth.Zappala@mail.house.gov; or Lorenz Isidro in Congressman Massie’s office at 202-225-3465 or at Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov

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Rep. Thomas Massie: Apple case imperils privacy, security

2016/03/29

Occasionally politicians slip up and reveal their true intentions. In Washington, D.C., this is called “committing candor.” While indirectly discussing his administration’s effort in the courts to force Apple to develop a software key to unlock iPhones, President Obama recently admitted this battle is not just about a single terrorist’s iPhone in San Bernardino.

On March 11, Obama said: “What mechanisms do we have available to even do simple things like tax enforcement? Because if, in fact, you can’t crack that at all, government can’t get in, then everybody’s walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket. So there has to be some concession to the need to be able get into that information somehow.”

This comes from an administration that defines “tax enforcement” as asking conservative-leaning nonprofit organizations whether any of their members ever plan to run for office, demanding transcripts of all their speeches, and even asking questions about the content of their prayers.

Thanks to the president’s own words, we know the current battle over unbreakable encryption (and the privacy it affords) is not about a single terrorist’s iPhone.

But what about national security? Would it be in the best interests of national security to outlaw unbreakable encryption in the United States? No, says Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA and NSA: “Even when you’re just looking at this through a security lens, that’s actually not the best resolution for American security. Put another way, America is more secure – America is more safe – with unbreakable end-to-end encryption.”

As Craig Federighi, Apple’s head of software engineering writes, “Once created, this software – which law enforcement has conceded it wants to apply to many iPhones – would become a weakness that hackers and criminals could use to wreak havoc on the privacy and personal safety of us all.”

As an MIT-trained electrical engineer, I understand the unique technical aspects of this case, and Apple’s specific arguments. Apple is correct when it asserts that compliance with this court order would force it to compromise its existing products. Compliance with the order would also compromise the privacy and security of all iPhone customers.

This is why I, along with Democratic U.S. Reps. Zoe Lofgren of California and Rush Holt of New Jersey, drafted an amendment in 2014 to block government agencies from coercing individuals and organizations to build encryption backdoors. Twice I offered this amendment to the annual Department of Defense appropriations bill, and twice it passed the House by overwhelming margins. Both times, the appropriation bills were discarded in favor of an omnibus spending bill, but the roll call votes demonstrate solid support for the Fourth Amendment in Congress.

Stymied by our bipartisan coalition in Congress to protect the Fourth Amendment, the administration now hopes to circumvent the legislative process and instead use the courts to weaken encryption. But Americans have always cherished privacy and do not want their government spying on them.

“If privacy is outlawed, only outlaws will have privacy,” says encryption expert Philip Zimmerman.

If Apple loses this landmark case, only outlaws, our government and foreigners can have privacy and security. I will continue to oppose the government’s ongoing war on your privacy and security.

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PRESS RELEASE: Massie-Pingree Bill To Support Local Food Production Garners Senate Support

2016/03/09

For Immediate Release

 

Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov

Tuesday March 8, 2016

 

(202) 225-3465

 

 

Massie-Pingree Bill To Support Local Food Production Garners Senate Support

 

Senators Angus King and Rand Paul introduce legislation that would allow states to permit sale of meat processed locally

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the PRIME (Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption) Act, lending Senate support for Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Chellie Pingree's (D-ME) bill (H.R. 3187) to make it easier for small farms and ranches to serve consumers. The bill (S. 2651) is identical to the legislation that Representatives Massie and Pingree introduced in the House of Representatives last summer.  Massie and Pingree's bill now has 20 co-sponsors in the House.

"I'm thrilled to have the support of Senators King and Paul in this growing effort to open local markets to small farms and producers and give consumers the freedom to choose,” said Representative Massie, who owns 50 head of cattle and produces grass-fed beef. "Although consumers want to know where their food comes from, what it contains, and how it’s processed, federal inspection requirements make it difficult to purchase food from trusted local farmers. These onerous federal rules make it difficult for small farms and ranches to succeed financially. The introduction of companion legislation in the Senate significantly improves the prospect of moving the PRIME Act to the President's desk."

"The PRIME ACT would help lift some of the federal barriers that aren’t always necessary for small farmers who may raise a few cows to feed their families or neighbors," said Representative Pingree, who raises grass fed beef on her Maine farm. "Small farmers sometimes just don't have access to USDA inspected processors without driving hours each way.  It's just not practical or economical and discourages local production of sustainable meat."

The PRIME Act would give individual states freedom to permit intrastate distribution of custom-slaughtered meat such as beef, pork, or lamb, to consumers, restaurants, hotels, boarding houses, and grocery stores. Current law exempts custom slaughter of animals from federal inspection regulations, but only if the meat is slaughtered for personal, household, guest, and employee use.  This means that in order to sell individual cuts of locally-raised meats to consumers, farmers and ranchers must first send their animals to one of a limited number of USDA-inspected slaughterhouses.  These slaughterhouses are sometimes hundreds of miles away, which adds substantial transportation cost, and also increases the chance that meat raised locally will be co-mingled with industrially-produced meat.  The PRIME Act would expand the current custom exemption and allow small farms, ranches, and slaughterhouses to thrive.

The PRIME Act (H.R. 3187), which is supported by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance, is part of a series of "Food & Farm Freedom" initiatives championed by Massie, including the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 (H.R. 525), the Milk Freedom Act of 2015 (H.R. 3563), and the Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2015 (H.R. 3564). Rep. Pingree is the lead Democratic co-sponsor on both "Milk Freedom" bills. Rep. Massie has also been a staunch advocate for country-of-origin labeling of food.

Co-sponsors of the PRIME Act include Reps Justin Amash (R-MI), Dave Brat (R-VA), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), John Duncan (R-TN), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), John Garamendi (D-CA), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Crescent Hardy (R-NV), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Robert Wittman (R-VA).

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PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Representative Massie Urges Courts to Protect Second Amendment

2015/12/18

For Immediate Release

 

Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov

Thursday December 17, 2015

 

(202) 225-3465

 

 

U.S. Representative Massie Urges Courts to Protect Second Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Representative Thomas Massie and 14 members of the House of Representatives filed an amicus brief to Defense Distributed v. United States Department of State in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  The attorney for the plaintiff is Alan Gura, who successfully argued  McDonald v. City of Chicago and Heller v. District of Columbia before the U. S. Supreme Court. The brief is intended to advise the appellate court and support the plaintiff’s case.

“We expect the Court to recognize that the State Department exceeded the authority granted to it by Congress and violated the First, Second, and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution,” said Rep. Massie. “If the State Department’s violations are allowed to stand, it could have dramatic implications for free speech on the Internet.”

In June 2013, Defense Distributed, a Texas non-profit committed to defending the right to bear arms, made technical information about 3D-printing of legal firearms available for free on the Internet.  The State Department forced the company to withdraw the posted information, citing the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), a U.S. law which bans export of sensitive information.

Defense Distributed sought an injunction against the State Department in 2015, claiming the ban violated the First, Second, and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. A Texas district court denied the injunction, but the company has appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  The amicus brief was filed in support of the appeal.

Rep. Massie and the other co-signers of the brief argue that the State Department’s interpretation of export regulations exceeds the authority in the foreign commerce clause of the Constitution.  The foreign commerce clause allows regulation of trade with other countries, but it does not allow regulation of free speech within the United States.  The co-signers also assert that the State Department’s interpretation of the export regulations will stifle American innovation as well as free speech.

In addition to Rep. Massie, House co-signers include Duncan (R-SC), Gosar (R-AZ), Webster (R-FL), Labrador (R-ID), Conaway (R-TX), Rokita (R-IN), Farenthold (R-TX), Posey (R-FL), Miller (R-FL), Babin (R-TX), Jones (R-NC), King (R-IA), Fleming (R-LA), and Kelly (R-PA).

To read the amicus brief, click here.

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PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Representatives Jones and Massie Introduce Bill to Cut Ex-Speaker Office

2015/12/09

For Immediate Release

 

Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov

Wednesday December 9, 2015

 

(202) 225-3465

 

 

U.S. Representatives Jones and Massie Introduce Bill to Cut Ex-Speaker Office

 

 

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) and Congressman Thomas Massie (KY-4) introduced legislation to de-authorize the post-speaker office that retired speakers enjoy for up to five years after they leave office. The practice started in 1971 when former Speaker John McCormack retired. In the past 44 years, the perk has grown to include office allowances, franking privileges, and staff help for the former speaker. Former Speaker Dennis Hastert spent $1.9 million in taxpayer money running his post-speaker office. Meanwhile, he was making big money as a Washington, DC lobbyist and had the disposable income to pay $1.7 million to someone who was blackmailing him over allegedly molesting young boys.

“It is ridiculous that a former speaker needs 5 years and millions of taxpayer dollars to maintain an office in the Capitol building,” said Congressman Jones. “They are no longer a member of Congress. Upon leaving office, former speakers have access to many perks and opportunities, including government pensions, book deals, lobbying, speaking engagements, and consulting. If they want an office, they can pay for it themselves. We need to cut this unnecessary taxpayer-funded perk and deal with our $18 trillion debt.”

“I’m confident that when we get this legislation to the floor, every member of Congress will vote with us to eliminate this waste of taxpayer dollars,” Massie said.  “This week's omnibus presents an immediate opportunity to defund the ex-speaker's office, but the most probable vehicle is an amendment containing Mr. Jones' legislation, that we can offer next summer during the appropriations debate,” he added.

Congressman Jones also sent a letter to Speaker Ryan today about the need to de-authorize to the post-speaker office. Watch video of Congressman Jones’ remarks at the press conference here

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PRESS RELEASE: House Passes Massie-Lofgren-Eshoo Amendment to Bring Electric Car Charging Stations to Federal Facilities at No Cost to Taxpayer

2015/11/04

For Immediate Release

 

Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov

Wednesday November 4, 2015

 

(202) 225-3465

 

 

House Passes Massie-Lofgren-Eshoo Amendment to Bring Electric Car Charging Stations to Federal Facilities at No Cost to Taxpayer

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives passed an amendment sponsored by Congressman Thomas Massie, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) that would allow the General Services Administration (GSA) to construct, install, and operate electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for private vehicle use at federal facilities at no cost to the taxpayer. The amendment, which Congressman Massie modeled after a bill written by Congresswoman Lofgren, is part of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization & Reform Act of 2015, which authorizes funds for the Highway Trust Fund for six years.

"In 2012, Congress passed legislation to allow electric vehicle recharging at the U.S. Capitol for congressmen and their staff for a fee, but neglected to extend this authority to other federal agencies and employees. Our amendment would correct this disparity," said Rep. Massie, who serves on both the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. 

"I first learned of this issue after a constituent wrote me a letter last year," said Rep. Lofgren, who introduced the EV-COMUTE Act that served as template for this amendment. "In it, he said he was ‘surprised and dismayed’ that it is illegal for federal facilities to provide electric vehicle charging stations for the public or their employees, even at no cost to taxpayers. My family has an electric car and I know they are an important part of improving efficiency and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. As this amendment was adopted on the House floor today, it served as a powerful reminder of the role citizens play in generating new ideas and legislation.”

“The EV-COMUTE Act replicates a successful clean energy initiative in place at the U.S. Capitol and expands it to federal agencies nationwide, allowing commuters to plug in their electric vehicles at work for a small fee,” said Rep. Eshoo, who also introduced the original EV-COMUTE legislation. “As the nation’s largest employer, the federal government should lead by example in offering workplace charging. Silicon Valley is home to thousands of electric vehicle owners, yet the more than 5,000 federal employees in my congressional district have no access to charging facilities at work because of a quirk in existing law. This legislation is a small but commonsense step in our global battle against climate change and will help keep the U.S. a leader in clean energy deployment.”

"In my personal and public life, I consistently support an all-of-the-above energy strategy for the United States,” concluded Rep. Massie, an MIT graduate who drives an electric car daily in Washington, D.C. “I'm proud to sponsor this amendment because it will expand transportation options for many Americans at no cost to taxpayers."

The Massie-Lofgren-Eshoo amendment is modeled after the EV-COMUTE Act (H.R. 3509), which was introduced by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Congressman Thomas Massie, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, and Congressman Rob Woodall (R-GA). This bill was written to provide federal workers with flexibility in their commute by enabling federal agencies to construct power charging stations for employees with electric vehicles. The cost of installing and operating the charging stations will be fully covered by fees paid by employees who use the stations. 

The Massie-Lofgren-Eshoo amendment was adopted on November 3rd, 2015. 


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PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Representatives Massie and Pingree Reintroduce Milk Freedom Legislation

2015/09/18

For Immediate Release   Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov
Friday, September 18, 2015   (202) 225-3465  
 

PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Representatives Massie and Pingree Reintroduce Milk Freedom Legislation

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Thomas Massie (R–KY), Chellie Pingree (D–ME), and a bipartisan coalition of 16 other lawmakers have reintroduced legislation to improve consumer food choices and to protect local farmers from federal interference. The two bills – the Milk Freedom of Act of 2015 (H.R. 3563) and the Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2015 (H.R. 3564) – are the newest in a series of “food and farm freedom” initiatives the lawmaking duo have championed this year, following the Industrial Hemp Act of 2015 (H.R. 525) and the PRIME Act (H.R. 3187).

“These bills would make it easier for families to buy wholesome milk directly from farmers by reversing the criminalization of dairy farmers who offer raw milk,” said Rep. Massie. “The federal government should not punish farmers for providing customers the foods they want, and states should be free to set their own laws regulating food safety.”

"A lot of people want to buy fresh, unpasteurized milk and regulations shouldn't get between them and a farmer who wants to sell it,” said Rep. Pingree. "It just doesn't make sense to spend money cracking down on small, local farmers who are producing natural, raw milk and I think the enforcement of raw milk regulations has been overzealous and needs to be reined in." 

"Raw milk is the only food banned in interstate commerce," said Pete Kennedy, President of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. "Congratulations to Representatives Massie and Pingree for starting the process of repealing a regulation that thousands of otherwise law abiding citizens violate every week in this country." 

Raw milk is fresh milk that has not been pasteurized, and may contain beneficial nutrients that have not been eliminated by the pasteurization process.  Although Congress has never passed legislation banning raw milk, the federal Food and Drug Administration has used their regulatory authority to prosecute farmers for selling raw milk.

The “Milk Freedom Act of 2015” (H.R. 3563) would provide relief to local farmers, small producers, and others who have been harassed, fined, and in some cases even prosecuted for the “crime” of distributing unpasteurized milk.  This bill would prohibit the federal government from interfering with the interstate traffic of raw milk products.

Likewise, the “Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2015” (H.R. 3564) would prevent the federal government from interfering with trade of unpasteurized, natural milk or milk products between states where distribution or sale of such products is already legal. 

No provision of either bill would preempt or otherwise interfere with any state law.

Massie concluded, “Today, many people are paying more attention to the food they eat, what it contains, and how it is processed.  Raw milk, which has been with us for thousands of years, is making a comeback among these discerning consumers.  Personal choices as basic as ‘what we feed our families’ should not be limited by the federal government.”

Original co-sponsors of the Milk Freedom Act of 2015 include Reps Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Jared Polis (D-CO), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Dave Brat (R-VA), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Richard Nugent (R-FL), and Justin Amash (R-MI). Original co-sponsors of the Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2015 include Reps Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Jared Polis (D-CO), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Dave Brat (R-VA), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Richard Nugent (R-FL), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), and Raúl Labrador (R-ID). 

 

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PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Representative Massie Issues Statement on Iran Nuclear Deal

2015/09/11

For Immediate Release

 

Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov

Friday September 11, 2015

 

(202) 225-3465

 

 

U.S. Representative Massie Issues Statement on Iran Nuclear Deal

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Massie explained his votes on four bills related to the Iran nuclear deal:

1. The “Corker-Cardin” bill that enabled the President’s deal with Iran, provided Congress had 60 days to review:

I was one of 25 congressmen who, on May 14, 2015, voted “no” on this bill. The Iran deal is a treaty, and pursuant to Article II, section 2 of our Constitution, treaties require the approval of 2/3 of the Senate. Corker-Cardin turns the constitutional approval process for treaties on its head.  Whereas the Constitution requires 2/3 of the Senate to actively approve the President’s treaty, Corker-Cardin effectively requires 2/3 of the Senate to disapprove the Iran deal.   In addition, the Constitution gives no power to the House of Representatives to either approve or disapprove of a treaty.

2. H. Res. 411, which expresses the sense of the House that, by withholding the “side deals” to the overall Iran agreement, the President was not complying with the “Corker-Cardin” bill’s framework:

I voted “yes” because, given the limited information I learned in classified briefings, the side deals are relevant to the overall agreement, yet the President has refused to disclose the side deals to Congress.

3. H.R. 3461, the bill to “approve” the Iran deal:

I voted “present.” Pursuant to the Constitution, treaties must be approved by a “2/3 concurrence” of the Senate. As a member of the House of Representatives, I have no authority to approve a treaty. Even assuming the legitimacy of the Corker-Cardin bill’s framework, H.R. 3461 is a “show-boat” vote at best, since if a majority of the House votes “no” on approving the Iran deal, H.R. 3461 fails, nothing goes to the Senate, nothing is sent to the President for his signature, and the Iran deal proceeds on schedule. 

4. H.R. 3460, a bill which prevents the President from lifting sanctions on Iran during the remainder of his presidential term:

I voted “yes.” The President should not be given authority to single-handedly lift sanctions that were implemented via legislation passed by Congress. The executive branch already has far too much authority and power. 

The Corker-Cardin bill passed the House 400-25 on May 14, 2015, and was signed into law. H. Res. 411 passed 245-186, H.R. 3461 failed 162-269-1, and H.R. 3460 passed 247-186. H. Res 411 and H. R. 3460 now go to the Senate.

 

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PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Representatives Massie and Pingree Introduce Bill to Revive Local Meat Processing

2015/07/24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

July 23, 2015

CONTACT:

Rep. Massie: Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov (202-225-3465)

Rep. Pingree: Willy.Ritch@mail.house.gov (207-841-8400)

  

U.S. Representatives Massie and Pingree Introduce Bill to Revive Local Meat Processing

 

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Representatives Thomas Massie and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced legislation to make it easier for small farms and ranches to serve consumers. The PRIME (Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption) Act would give individual states freedom to permit intrastate distribution of custom-slaughtered meat such as beef, pork, or lamb, to consumers, restaurants, hotels, boarding houses, and grocery stores.

“As a producer of grass-fed beef, I am familiar with the difficulties small producers face when marketing directly to consumers,” said Rep. Massie, who owns 50 head of cattle. “Despite consumers’ desire to know where their food comes from, federal inspection requirements make it difficult for them to purchase food from local farmers they know and trust. These onerous federal rules also make it more difficult for small farms and ranches to succeed financially. It is time to open our markets to small farms and producers and give consumers the freedom to choose.”

"More and more people want locally produced food, but because of the way the system is set up for processing meat, farmers and ranchers sometimes end up sending their animals hundreds or even thousands of miles to a giant slaughterhouse,” said Rep. Pingree, who raises grass-fed beef at her island farm in Maine and is the lead Democratic sponsor for the legislation.  "That is just crazy and defeats the whole point of locally produced food.  If we can change the federal regulations a little to make it easier to process meat locally, it's going to help farmers scale up and give local consumers what they want."

“The PRIME Act is the first step to rebuilding local processing infrastructure, which can revive rural economies and enable communities to become more self-sufficient in meat production,” stated Pete Kennedy, president of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. “We applaud Representative Massie and Representative Pingree for taking on one of the bigger obstacles to a prosperous local food system.”

"Regulating sales of locally produced and sold meat at the state level has the potential to address a significant barrier to the growth of the local food system,” said Judith McGeary, Founder and Executive Director of Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance. "As an organization that represents both farmers and consumers, the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance applauds this common-sense bill."

Current law exempts custom slaughter of animals from federal inspection regulations, but only if the meat is slaughtered for personal, household, guest, and employee use (21 U.S.C. § 623(a)). This means that in order to sell individual cuts of locally-raised meats to consumers, farmers and ranchers must first send their animals to one of a limited number of USDA-inspected slaughterhouses.  These slaughterhouses are sometimes hundreds of miles away, which adds substantial transportation cost, and also increases the chance that meat raised locally will be co-mingled with industrially-produced meat.  The PRIME Act would expand the current custom exemption and allow small farms, ranches, and slaughterhouses to thrive.

The PRIME Act (H.R. 3187), which is supported by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance, is part of a series of “Food & Farm Freedom” initiatives championed by Massie, including The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 (H.R. 525), the Milk Freedom Act of 2015 (H.R. 3563), and the Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2015 (H.R. 3564). Rep. Pingree was the lead Democratic co-sponsor on both “Milk Freedom” bills. Rep. Massie has also been a staunch advocate for country-of-origin labeling of food.

Original co-sponsors of the PRIME Act include Reps Walter Jones (R-NC) and Jared Polis (D-CO).

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Bipartisan, bicameral group highlights broad opposition to sweeping anti-patent legislation moving through Congress

2015/07/14

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) and U.S. Representatives John Conyers (D-MI), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Bill Foster (D-IL), Curt Clawson (R-FL), Scott Peters (D-CA), and Paul Gosar (D-AZ) held a joint press conference today to highlight the broad opposition to sweeping anti-patent legislation moving through Congress.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on H.R. 9, the Innovation Act, before the House concludes legislative business in July. The Senate may take up S. 1137, the PATENT Act, this month or in the fall. H.R. 9 is strongly opposed by inventors, small businesses, venture capitalists, startup communities, and manufacturing, technology, and life sciences companies.

Senator Coons is the author of targeted patent legislation, the STRONG Patents Act, which Senator Vitter has co-sponsored.

“Passing the extensive patent reform being proposed in the House could hurt the very communities patents are meant to protect – innovators, small businesses, and job creators,” Senator Vitter said. “The past three years has seen drastic changes to the patent system. We shouldn’t further overhaul the entire patent system because of a few bad actors. Rather than a blanket overhaul that would cause more uncertainty, we need to strike the right balance and take a targeted approach that minimizes litigation abuse, protects end users, and empowers innovators at the heart of our economy.”

“The fact of the matter is that these two bills would be destructive to our innovation economy, and we're working hard to ensure they won't be treated lightly in either the House or the Senate,” said Senator Chris Coons. “A strong patent system is one of the critical ways we distinguish ourselves from competing economies around the world, and we cannot afford to rush into passing a bill that would further weaken our innovation economy, which is exactly what the Innovation Act would do by making broad changes that fail to protect all patent holders. I will continue working hard with colleagues from both parties in both the House and the Senate to shine a light on the significant flaws in H.R. 9 and the PATENT Act in the Senate."

“Abusive patent litigation requires a targeted approach, H.R. 9, the so-called ‘Innovation Act,’ is far from that,” said Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich). “The overly broad legislation could potentially weaken every single patent in America. It favors big businesses over small inventors and start-ups by including harmful provisions like presumptive fee shifting, expanded joinder, heightened pleading standards, and discovery limitations, yet it fails to prevent fee diversion or address the use of deceptive demand letters – two of the most significant solutions to address abusive patent litigation. As I have stated before, H.R. 9 would have unintended consequences that will harm legitimate patent holders and stifle innovation in America.”

“As a small inventor with 29 U.S. patents, I oppose H.R. 9, the so-called Innovation Act, because it threatens American inventors, particularly individual inventors and those working at small businesses and startups,” said Rep. Massie. “The bill attempts to “fix” a few isolated abuses of the patent system, but instead it sets forth a comprehensive overhaul of the existing legal framework that compromises the rights of all legitimate inventors. If Congress recklessly weakens our patent system by passing this bill, inventors’ very livelihoods will be threatened. Inventors will stop inventing, and as the role models for young inventors quietly fade into history, fewer young students will pursue this rewarding career path. A decade from now, Congress will lament the lack of interest among our nation’s youth in subjects like science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, arrogantly unaware that Congress itself destroyed it.”

“As a small business owner who started a company that supports hundreds of good manufacturing jobs, I have been on both sides of patent fights – asserting the patent rights of the company and defending patent claims brought against it,” said Rep. Foster. “So I understand the need for balance in our patent system. H.R. 9 would throw the system out of balance, making it almost impossible for garage inventors to even attempt to protect their intellectual property against established players with deep pockets. The so-called Innovation Act has the potential to stop small companies like ours before they can even get started.”

“What is clear is that the so-called ‘Innovation Act’ is the wrong approach and will undermine the entire patent system,” said Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52). “Instead we should craft patent reform legislation that actually fixes the problem and allows for innovators to develop their ideas free from frivolous litigation, gives inventors a clear and reasonable route of recourse when they are wronged, and brings our patent system into the 21st century.”

 

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Contact Information

1119 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3465
Fax 202-225-0003
massie.house.gov

U.S. Representative Thomas Massie entered Congress in November 2012 after serving as Lewis County Judge Executive. He represents Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District which stretches across Northern Kentucky and 280 miles of the Ohio River.

U.S. Representative Massie attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. During school, he invented a technology that enabled people to interact with computers using their sense of touch, and leveraged that technology to found SensAble Technologies, Inc., which raised over $32 million of venture capital, created 70 jobs, and obtained 24 patents. The hardware and software he developed is now used to design automobiles, jewelry, shoes, dental prosthetics, and even reconstructive implants for wounded soldiers.

In Congress, Thomas serves on three committees: the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

The House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure  has jurisdiction over roads, bridges, mass transit, railroads, aviation, maritime and waterborne transit. Thomas’s selection to the Oversight and Government Reform Committee puts him in a position to hold the federal government accountable to taxpayers. Further, Rep. Massie’s background from MIT and the high-tech business world makes him uniquely qualified to serve his state and country on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

Thomas lives on a cattle farm in Kentucky with his wife and high school sweetheart, Rhonda, and their four children.

He’s honored to be able to serve the citizens of Kentucky’s 4th District.


Serving With

Ed Whitfield

KENTUCKY's 1st DISTRICT

Brett Guthrie

KENTUCKY's 2nd DISTRICT

Hal Rogers

KENTUCKY's 5th DISTRICT

Andy Barr

KENTUCKY's 6th DISTRICT

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