Members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce unanimously voted to advance the Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act (H.R. 906) to the full Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration.
Building on two recent congressional hearings and last week’s White House roundtable on Right to Repair, this support from Congress is a promising step forward in codifying vehicle data access protections – as part of the broader right to repair movement – in federal law. The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in February this year by Congressmen Neal Dunn, Brendan Boyle and Warren Davidson as well as Congresswoman Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, the only repair shop owner in Congress. Since then, it has gained an additional 40-plus bipartisan cosponsors.
Industry associations that have for years fought for Right to Repair praised the move as a step in the right direction.
“We are grateful to the Subcommittee for recognizing the intent behind this legislation and agreeing to report the REPAIR Act to the full committee,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “While today’s action is a testament to the hard work of our industry’s advocacy of preserving safe, affordable and accessible vehicle repair, it is also just the beginning of the legislative process. As this fight now moves to the full Committee on Energy and Commerce, I encourage our members to remain diligent with outreach to elected officials to ensure they know that your business depends on the REPAIR Act becoming law.”
Right to Repair has been gaining momentum for years. In the past year alone, Congress has held four hearings on the broad Right to Repair issue, including most recently on H.R. 906. MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers said as The REPAIR Act moves to be considered by the full Energy and Commerce Committee, other stakeholders have brought forward recommendations to alter the current bill. The association said it looks forward to working with committee members, members of Congress and those stakeholders on improvements that would further ensure the legislation will continue to progress through Congress.
“Without action from Congress, consumers will begin to lose choice and competition in the marketplace,” said Paul McCarthy, president and CEO, MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers. “The time is now for right to repair on all vehicles. Following this important action by the subcommittee, we look forward to working with all stakeholders to achieve consensus on further improvements to the legislation that protect competition and consumer choice.”
Alongside the Save Money on Auto Repair Transportation (SMART) Act, swift action on the REPAIR Act is needed to protect consumers’ right to access their vehicle’s data, the right to choose the car parts they want, and the right to have their car repaired at any locally-owned business of their choosing, according to the CAR Coalition.
“It’s tremendous to see bipartisan support for expanding vehicle owners’ right to repair. Today’s markup and approval of the REPAIR Act demonstrates the clear desire of Congress to put consumers first. We thank the members of the Energy and Commerce Committee for advancing this important legislation and look forward to seeing the bill move forward,” said Justin Rzepka, executive director of the CAR Coalition.
In speaking about the bipartisan REPAIR Act, Full Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) called for action to provide relief to American car owners.
“We are at a critical moment where the status quo is no longer acceptable and clear rules are needed,” she said. “I hope we can work together to find the bipartisan solutions to provide ease and accessibility to millions of vehicle owners.”
According to MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers, the passage of The REPAIR Act would do the following:
- Allow consumers to access to both light-duty and heavy-duty vehicle repair, maintenance, and parts of their choosing through all iterations of vehicle technology on the road today and to come.
- Allow consumers, repair shops and suppliers to access all necessary telematics and diagnostics data.
- Create a mechanism for enforcement of national standards.
- Ensure that independent repair shops and suppliers can use bi-directional communication to update vehicles and parts to the latest software.
- Authorize the NHTSA to set cybersecurity rules governing wireless access.
- Address the risk of repair monopolies that can occur when access to data and information is restricted.
Industry associations are encouraging their members and others to get involved in the fight for Right to Repair. You can create and send a letter to your Congressional representative encouraging them to support Right to Repair here.