Elizabeth Warren comes out in support of a national right-to-repair law

By Makena Kelly

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Ahead of another weekend campaigning in Iowa, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) rolled out an extensive agriculture platform today that included a call for a national right-to-repair law, something that device makers have been lobbying against for years.

Warren’s proposal explicitly addresses farming equipment like tractors, requiring manufacturers like John Deere and Case Corporation to make all diagnostic tools and equipment manuals easily available for consumers who would rather repair their own machines instead of needing an authorized repair agent to fix them.

“That’s ridiculous. Farmers should be able to repair their own equipment or choose between multiple repair shops,” Warren said in the blog post. “That’s why I strongly support a national right-to-repair law that empowers farmers to repair their equipment without going to an authorized agent.”

Such a bill could have significant implications for electronics companies like Apple, which requires its devices to be repaired at an authorized retailer rather than an independent shop. Apple’s repair policy is often touted as the most aggressive, including physical mechanisms like proprietary screws and parts that only approved repair shops have access to. Apple has reportedly lobbied against state-level right-to-repair bills in the past.

Warren suggested that the proposal could also lead to lower prices for equipment as time goes on by stimulating competition. “This will not only allow individuals to fix their own equipment ,” she writes, “ but it will also create competition among dealers and independent repair shops, bringing down prices overall.”

It’s not the first time Warren has taken aim at the tech industry. Last month, Warren proposed aggressive changes to anti-trust law, with a specific eye to limiting the power of big tech platforms like Facebook, Google, and Amazon. In an interview with The Verge, she said the same rules would apply to Apple’s App Store. “Either they run the platform or they play in the store,” Warren told The Verge. “They don’t get to do both at the same time.”