CARE Act Reintroduced: Beer, wine and spirits producers urge Congress to reject it
February 14, 2011
Dear Member of Congress:
Congratulations on your election to the 112th Congress. This Congress, like few in history, faces remarkable and significant challenges.
Our associations represent more than 3,500 breweries, wineries, distilleries, and importers responsible for producing and importing virtually all alcohol beverages sold in the U.S. Our industry successfully participates in the 21st Century economy, providing sustainable jobs to hundreds of thousands of American workers in large and small businesses located in every state. We have a strong domestic manufacturing and agricultural base with growing two-way trade relationships throughout the world.
Fundamental to our long-term success is a stable regulatory system in which Congress regulates interstate and foreign commerce, and states regulate the distribution and retail sales of alcohol beverages within their borders. This system has evolved and served the public well since the repeal of Prohibition. Over 4,000 state alcohol beverage laws are on the books, clear proof that state regulation of alcohol is intact and meaningful.
In 2010, the so-called Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act (“CARE Act”) was introduced at the request of the National Beer Wholesalers Association with the active support of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America. The 2010 bill would have invited enactment of discriminatory state laws and protracted litigation. We anticipate its reintroduction this year and strongly oppose this misguided effort. More than 100 businesses and think tanks shared our position in 2010.
At two House Judiciary Committee hearings held last year, House members pointed out that the bill had nothing to do with states’ rights to control underage drinking and alcohol abuse. House members and legal experts testified that the bill undermined important Constitutional and economic principles that normally guide regulation of commerce and ensure fair competition. Committee members and witnesses alike indicated that Congress was being asked to favor one segment of an industry at the expense of other industry members and American consumers.
We do not believe that Congress should spend valuable time wading into an intra-industry squabble and unraveling a successful regulatory structure to the detriment of consumers, the industry, and the federal interest in a fair, competitive, and orderly marketplace for alcohol beverages. We respectfully ask that you refrain from cosponsoring this special-interest legislation and join the numerous groups actively
opposing it. Please feel free to contact us if you have specific questions or need further background.
We appreciate your consideration of our views and look forward to working with you on this and other important issues.