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Why September Matters For The Music Modernization Act
As August drew to a close, the Music Modernization Act remained poised for passage in the U.S. Senate, pending a floor vote. Having already passed the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill has enjoyed a recent groundswell of support, and more than 70 of its co-sponsors in the Senate agree with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) that what we presently have with copyright is "a broken system." Now, one vote away from moving forward, the MMA heads into September ready for action but up against a dauntingly busy Senate calendar.
With an eye on many competing priorities, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has the herculean task of managing the business of his chamber before the Senate leaves Washington for the campaign trail this fall. Hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, upcoming budget deadlines and challenging debates about detailed funding are keeping legislative days packed and limiting opportunities for the Senate to vote on other issues, including consideration of the Music Modernization Act.
McConnell has expressed the desire for the MMA to pass by unanimous consent, and with a majority of Senators as co-sponsors and unprecedented unity among stakeholders, the bill should sail smoothly through the Senate — if it can be scheduled for a vote. But the obstacles are many, as increased political rhetoric and partisan climate in the nation's capital threaten bipartisanship on potential legislative deal-making even for the most consensus of packages like the Music Modernization Act. Perhaps even more unsettling, the September 30 budget funding deadline looms, creating a massive distraction and eating up precious floor time from a potential MMA vote as the possibility of an October 1 government shutdown remains a real threat lawmakers must face before Election Day.
While the "lame duck" period after the November midterms will provide additional workdays, many believe the Music Modernization Act deserves better, based on strong bipartisan consensus between leading lawmakers, some of who will not be returning to elected office next year. While respecting competing priorities, the landmark bill's supporters continue to labor to see the MMA pushed over the Senate finish line. We'll be doing all we can to make it happen and we appreciate your support.