RILA welcomes House passage of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”

Arlington , VA, 2017-Nov-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today (11/16/2017), the Retail Leaders Association (RILA), the trade association for America’s most recognized and innovative brands, issued a statement praising the House passage of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”:

“We are thankful the House moved swiftly to pass this important legislation that will give America’s retailers and consumers a break. America’s current tax code is in dire need of an update. Retailers pay one of the nation’s highest effective corporate tax rates which is why we are pleased to see the corporate tax rate permanently reduced to 20 percent. This will allow savings to be reinvested to grow, add jobs and serve customers.  Further, we enthusiastically support the tax relief provided to individuals, specifically targeted to middle class taxpayers. Tax reform that works for retailers and customers is vital to keep our economy growing. We thank the House for listening to America’s retailers and our consumers, and urge the Senate to move forward on passing their proposal,” said Jennifer Safavian, executive vice president of government affairs for RILA.

RILA is the trade association of the worlds largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Contact:
Christin Fernandez
Vice President, Communicatoins
Phone: 703-600-2039
Email: christin.fernandez@rila.org

Source: RILA

RILA’s Jennifer Safavian: The border adjustment tax would jeopardize 42 million jobs retailers currently support

A Border Adjustable Tax Will Be ‘Uniformly Devastating’ To Retailers And Consumers

Arlington , VA, 2017-May-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — ​Today (5/23/2017), Retail Industry Leaders Association Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Jennifer Safavian issued the following statement as the House Ways and Means Committee began its hearing examining the economic and consumer impact of a border adjustable tax:

“As the nation’s largest private-sector employer, retailers support pro-growth tax reform that lowers corporate rates, scrutinizes all deductions and credits in the code, and creates a level playing field among industries.

“Retailers will continue to aggressively oppose any plan that attempts to shift the nation’s tax burden from certain corporations that currently are subject to low effective tax rates onto America’s working families. The border adjustment tax would jeopardize 42 million jobs retailers currently support, and would put an undue burden onto millions of American families that are struggling.

Retailers are confident that tax reform can be a win-win for job creators and American families. We urge lawmakers to scrap the controversial and divisive border adjustment tax and focus on crafting a tax reform plan that benefits all Americans.”

RILA provided a statement for the record during today’s hearing in support of pro-growth tax reform without a harmful border adjustment tax. In her statement, Safavian reiterated the fact that a BAT picks winners and losers and gives an unfair, anti-competitive advantage to companies already paying much lower effective tax rates.

“American companies are at a huge competitive disadvantage with our international competitors,” Safavian told the Committee. “This is not because of a mythical “Made in America” tax. Instead it is a result of the U.S. statutory corporate tax rate being extremely high by international standards…The border adjustable tax would not improve U.S. competitiveness. Instead, the border adjustable tax would impose price increases on American families, while also causing a devastating financial impact on the retail sector – so much so that the financial viability of many companies would be put into question.”

Safavian also focused on the impact to American consumers.

“The border adjustable tax, which would in effect place a new 20 percent tax on imports while completely eliminating the tax on exports, will force retailers to significantly raise prices on everyday consumer staples such as food, medicine, clothing, electronics, and home improvement items. Many personal necessities like life-saving drugs and items essential to the operation of U.S. small businesses, such as cell phones, have no domestically manufactured equivalent and will not in the foreseeable future. While margins on retail goods are already low, adding the border adjustable tax on top of the cost of those goods means that retailers have no other choice than to pass this additional tax onto American families.”

Safavian shared findings from a survey of American retailers conducted earlier this year on the impact of the border adjustable tax and the provisions of the House Republican Tax Reform Blueprint in their entirety (i.e. 20 percent rate, full expensing, territorial tax system). The results were uniformly devastating for the retail industry.

Examples of the representative responses include:

  • One retailer stated that their historic effective tax rate is 39 percent. Based on a three-year analysis, their effective tax rate would be between 140-288 percent.
  • Another retailer found that their effective tax rate would go from 37 percent to 102 percent as a result of the border adjustable tax.
  • Still another retailer’s analysis showed their effective tax rate would go from 38 percent to between 84-94 percent.
  • Beyond the increase in effective tax rates, one retailer explained that overall, they would go from a $1.5 billion net income to a $3.5 billion loss.

Safavian concluded her statement by reiterating the fact that should Congress impose a BAT, American consumers and retail jobs will be at risk.

“The border adjustable tax would disproportionately impact the retail sector because we import many products that are not able to be sourced domestically. Such a drastic new tax would undermine the benefits of a corporate tax rate reduction, precluding the industry from realizing potential economic growth. A border adjustable tax will lead to higher prices for American families and put many retail businesses at risk.”

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Contact:

Christin Fernandez
Vice President, Communications
Phone: 703-600-2039
Email: christin.fernandez@rila.org

Source: RILA

RILA EVP for Government Affairs Jennifer Safavian comments on retail community’s support for comprehensive tax reform

Arlington , VA, 2017-May-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — Jennifer Safavian, RILA Executive Vice President for Government Affairs, issued the following statement regarding the retail community’s support for comprehensive tax reform following today’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing “How Tax Reform Will Grow Our Economy and Create Jobs.”

“Retailers have a significant impact on the daily lives of all Americans – from their customers to their employees to the communities and families they serve every day. While retailers are responsible for more American jobs than any other industry, we also pay among the highest effective tax rates of all U.S. businesses. Pro-growth tax reform that simplifies and lowers rates, eliminates special preferences and restores America’s global competitiveness is the top priority for retailers—provided it does not saddle American families with a higher tax bill.”

Retail Works for our American Economy

More than 42 million jobs in the U.S. are either a retail job or a job that relies on retail. Jobs in the retail industry span from designers and IT professionals to transportation and logistics service providers to customer service representatives. Outside of brick and mortar stores, millions of jobs in manufacturing, finance, insurance, real estate, transportation, warehousing, and services industries are supported by retailers. Millions of Americans get their first job in retail, including Members of Congress and their staff.

Retailers offer flexible schedules that enable individuals to spend more time with their families or complete a degree, and provide employees with extensive training at all job levels and skill sets that lay a core foundation for fundamental career development. Millions of high-tech and high-paying jobs are created by retailers as consumer demand and industry innovation continually advance and change.

RILA provided the Committee a statement for the record during today’s hearing. To read the full statement click here.

RILA is the trade association of the worlds largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Contact:

Jason Brewer
Senior Vice President, Communications and State Affairs
Phone: 703-600-2044
Email: jason.brewer@rila.org

Source: RILA

RILA comments on House Committee vote on repeal of critical debit card fee reforms

Arlington , VA, 2016-Sep-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — In a letter sent to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Ranking Member Maxine Waters, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) outlined retailers’ objections to H.R. 5983, the Financial CHOICE Act, and urged the Committee to vote against the legislation this week.

The CHOICE Act, specifically Section 335, repeals important debit reforms passed more than six years ago that brought fairness and competition to the debit card market. Swipe fee reform, also known as the Durbin Amendment, passed the Senate in 2010. The reforms require that the fees that banks and card networks charge every time a debit card is swiped are “reasonable and proportionate to the cost of processing the transaction.” Prior to the passage of reforms, card networks utilized their overwhelming market power to raise fees at will. Swipe fees are estimated to cost merchants and consumers $50 billion every year.

According to the letter, “repealing these reforms would remove competition and transparency from the marketplace and provide banks the ability to drastically raise fees – ultimately hurting businesses of all sizes.”

“The Durbin Amendment quite simply brought fairness and competition to a market that previously had none. Repealing the amendment would be turning the clock back on commonsense bipartisan reforms,” said Jennifer Safavian, RILA’s executive vice president for government affairs. “We urge the Committee to take into consideration the harmful consequences of this legislation as they take a vote this week.”

In addition to urging committee members to vote against this harmful legislation, RILA’s letter disputes many false claims made by the banking community about the Durbin Amendment. Despite their claims, the reform has not resulted in consumers’ loss of free checking, nor has it disproportionately harmed smaller banks.

Numerous RILA member companies were among the more than 400 companies that wrote House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) last week urging that they withdraw their respective proposals to repeal debit swipe reform.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Contact:

Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

Source: Retail Industry Leaders Association

RILA objects House Committee vote on Financial CHOICE Act

Arlington , VA, 2016-Sep-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — In a letter sent to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Ranking Member Maxine Waters, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) outlined retailers’ objections to H.R. 5983, the Financial CHOICE Act, and urged the Committee to vote against the legislation this week.

The CHOICE Act, specifically Section 335, repeals important debit reforms passed more than six years ago that brought fairness and competition to the debit card market. Swipe fee reform, also known as the Durbin Amendment, passed the Senate in 2010. The reforms require that the fees that banks and card networks charge every time a debit card is swiped are “reasonable and proportionate to the cost of processing the transaction.” Prior to the passage of reforms, card networks utilized their overwhelming market power to raise fees at will. Swipe fees are estimated to cost merchants and consumers $50 billion every year.

According to the letter, “repealing these reforms would remove competition and transparency from the marketplace and provide banks the ability to drastically raise fees – ultimately hurting businesses of all sizes.”

“The Durbin Amendment quite simply brought fairness and competition to a market that previously had none. Repealing the amendment would be turning the clock back on commonsense bipartisan reforms,” said Jennifer Safavian, RILA’s executive vice president for government affairs. “We urge the Committee to take into consideration the harmful consequences of this legislation as they take a vote this week.”

In addition to urging committee members to vote against this harmful legislation, RILA’s letter disputes many false claims made by the banking community about the Durbin Amendment. Despite their claims, the reform has not resulted in consumers’ loss of free checking, nor has it disproportionately harmed smaller banks.

Numerous RILA member companies were among the more than 400 companies that wrote House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) last week urging that they withdraw their respective proposals to repeal debit swipe reform.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Contact:

Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

Source: Retail Industry Leaders Association

RILA: Repealing debit swipe fee reforms would once again allow the largest banks and card networks to impose outrageous fees on merchants

Arlington , VA, 2016-Sep-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) is urging members of the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee to vote no when the CHOICE Act comes up for a vote next week. The bill repeals reforms passed more than six years ago that brought fairness and competition to the debit card market.

Swipe fee reform, also known as the Durbin Amendment, passed the Senate in 2010 with 64 votes. The reforms require that the fees that banks and card networks charge every time a debit card is swiped are “reasonable and proportionate to the cost of processing the transaction.” Prior to the passage of reforms, card networks utilized their overwhelming market power to raise fees at will. Swipe fees are estimated to cost merchants and consumers $50 billion every year.

“Repealing debit swipe fee reforms would once again allow the largest banks and card networks to impose outrageous fees on merchants across the country, while hurting everyone outside Wall Street,” said Jennifer Safavian, RILA’s executive vice president for government affairs. “Make no mistake, the CHOICE Act’s central objective is to turn back the clock on reforms that brought fairness and competition to the broken debit card market. We urge members to recognize the importance of competition in the payments ecosystem and to oppose the CHOICE Act.”

Numerous RILA member companies were among the more than 400 companies that wrote House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) this week urging that they withdraw their respective proposals to repeal debit swipe reform.

Swipe Reform Facts:

Banks Collected Most Debit Swipe Fees Ever in 2015
“A new study shows that the Durbin Amendment has yet to put a big dent into FIs’ total debit interchange revenue, with banks and credit unions amassing $18 billion in [debit] interchange in 2015—the highest total ever.”

Small Banks are Among Swipe Fee Reforms Biggest Winners
“There is substantial evidence that the ceiling did lower interchange fees collected by banks with assets above $10 billion, from around 44 cents to about 22 cents per transaction. But there was no such decline for small banks. Furthermore, after the ceiling was imposed, the volume of transactions conducted with cards issued by exempt banks grew faster than it did for large banks. Finally, Zhu Wang shows that interchange revenue fell substantially at large banks after the fee ceiling was imposed but continued rising for small banks.”

Swipe fee Reform Saves Consumers Billions and Creates Jobs
When debit swipe reform went into effect in October 2011, the average debit swipe fee on cards from covered banks dropped from 48 cents to 24 cents per transaction, saving consumers $5.8 billion in lower costs for good and services and saving merchant businesses $2.6 billion in 2012. The savings in turn supported 37,501 new jobs.

Free Checking Grows
According to the American Bankers Association (ABA), more Americans have free checking today than they did before the Durbin Amendment passed. In 2010, the ABA reported that 53% of consumers had free checking compared to 61% last year.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Contact:

Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

Source: RILA

RILA objectes DOL’s proposal to change workforce classification regulations

Proposed Rule Undermines Important Employee Benefits And Creates Enormous Burdens For Employers

Arlington, VA, 2015-9-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — ​In comments submitted today to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) strenuously objected to the proposal to change workforce classification regulations. Specifically, the proposal would change the rules by which employees are designated eligible for overtime, more than doubling the current salary level threshold for non-exempt employees and leaving the door open to establishing a rigid test for evaluating the primary duties of an employee.

“The dramatic changes proposed by the Department of Labor could undermine many of the things that retail employees value about their work, including flexibility, training and upward-mobility,” said Jennifer Safavian, executive vice president for government affairs.“Further, by undercutting employees’ ability to always prioritize serving customers, the rule could negatively impact the shopping experience. We believe that the proposal fails to recognize the realities of the modern workplace and we urge the Secretary of Labor to carefully consider the input provided by the business community.”

RILA’s comments were submitted by outside counsel, Jason Schwartz of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

“RILA agrees with the President that certain aspects of the white collar exemptions “have not kept up with our modern economy” and should be “modernize[d] and streamline[d].” Nonetheless, RILA does not agree that, that the proposed rule will either “modernize” or “streamline” the application of the exemptions,” said RILA in its comments to DOL. 

“The proposed rule would set the threshold salary above that earned by many bona fide exempt retail managers and would set in motion a self-perpetuating ladder of increases that bear no reasonable connection to exempt status or prevailing market conditions.  In addition, the changes to the duties tests that the Secretary is considering—but has not yet proposed—would embed outdated and inflexible concepts in the rules and foster confusion for employers and employees alike, leading to increased cost, burden and litigation without any meaningful benefit.”

In the comments filed today, RILA raised six substantial issues of concern:

  1. A rigid duties test would run counter to the realities of the modern workplace.
  2. Any change to the primary duties test must require a public comment period.
  3. The more than doubling of the salary threshold unfairly impacts the retail industry and employers located outside of major urban areas, where a substantially lower cost of living affects compensation.
  4. The proposed process for annual updates to the salary threshold would create unreasonable burdens without adequate justifications.
  5. Non-discretionary bonuses are an important component of salary and should be included in the salary threshold calculation.
  6. Sufficient implementation time should be provided.

Important Excerpts from RILA’s Comments to DOL:

On Minimum Duties Test

“The current regulations further reflect the reality of the modern workplace by acknowledging that employees can and often do multitask.  Ignoring this basic truth will simply create a regulatory regime out of touch with what actually happens every day on the job.”

“The current regulations provide that flexibility, within reasonable parameters, and should be retained as is.  A more rigid approach would handcuff businesses and force them to manage their exempt personnel by using a stop watch, rather than empowering these employees to achieve objectives within their responsibility and use their time as they see necessary to meet the needs of their operations.”

“…if the Department does believe that changes to the primary duties test are warranted at the conclusion of the instant rulemaking, specific proposals would need to be released to the public for with adequate notice and a reasonable opportunity to comment before adoption or else, as a matter of law, the Final Rule would be vacated for failure to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) and other legal obligations.”

Salary Threshold

“RILA agrees with the Secretary that the current minimum salary level for exemption, $455 per week ($23,660 per year), may no longer serve as a reliable indicator of exempt status and needs to be updated.  RILA disagrees, however, that the proposed increase to $970 per week ($50,440 per year), is a well-reasoned, rational substitute.”

Annual Salary Threshold Updates

“…the Secretary states that salary threshold updating should occur annually but that it would be impractical for the Department to conduct rulemaking every year.  Just as annual rulemaking would unduly burden the Secretary, annual updates to the salary minimum would unduly burden employers.  Such frequent changes to the salary level required for exemption would occupy substantial employer time and resources simply to keep up.  Instead of focusing on the annual performance evaluation and compensation planning process, which often begins months in advance of implementation, employers would instead be engaged in a mad rush to catch the moving train of salary level increases each year.  This would distort the proper functioning of compensation systems, forcing them to focus on whatever pronouncement the Secretary makes instead of tying compensation to market factors and performance.  Compression of salaries between the first level of exempt employees and the next tier will further interfere with the proper functioning of merit-based compensation systems.”

Inclusion of Non-Discretionary Bonus in Salary Calculation

“RILA notes two issues, however, with the Secretary’s suggested approach.  First, in the retail sector, bonuses are usually paid on a quarterly, semi-annual, or even annual basis due to the need to calculate the financial performance, customer service metrics, or other factors on which they are based.  Allowing credit only for those bonuses paid on a monthly basis would prevent many in the retail sector (and possibly other industries) from utilizing non-discretionary bonuses to satisfy the threshold salary level.  Second, for exempt employees, these bonuses often range from 10% to 20% or more of base salary.  RILA therefore urges the Secretary to permit credit toward up to 20% of the salary threshold test.”

Implementation Period

“Significant changes to the white collar exemption criteria such as those proposed here require substantial advance planning to implement throughout a workforce.  Whether employers react to the salary level increase by raising salaries, reclassifying employees as non-exempt, or some combination of those approaches, substantial time will be required to assess current positions, determine appropriate steps, plan, budget, and implement them.  RILA suggests that the Secretary recognize this business reality by making the regulations effective six months from the publication of a Final Rule in the Federal Register, and including an additional six month enforcement grace period during which the Secretary would focus on compliance assistance efforts.”

A link to the full comment letter can be found here.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

###​

Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

RILA’s statement on U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman’s congressional hearings on the U.S. trade policy agenda

Arlington, VA, 2015-1-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) today issued the following statement surrounding U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman’s appearance before the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee to discuss the U.S. trade policy agenda:

“RILA welcomes the continued commitment U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has shown toward our nation’s trade policy agenda,” said Jennifer Safavian, Executive Vice President for Government Affairs at RILA. “Trade is crucial to the retail industry and to breaking down barriers to provide open access to products and markets around the world.Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) could create tremendous new opportunities for generations of American workers, and we call on Congress to take action as soon as possible.”

Since Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s, Congress has authorized every Republican and Democratic President to exercise TPA. The resulting trade agreements have led to the opening of new markets for American companies and workers, and helped ensure a rules-based system for two-way trade. Increasing the access U.S. businesses have to foreign markets is more important than ever, but continued growth is in jeopardy because Congress has not renewed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) since 2007.

Sandy Kennedy, RILA’s President, is a member of President Obama’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations and has been very clear on the importance of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)  legislation and international trade on the retail industry.Read her op-ed from October on the issue: http://bit.ly/1va3eBc .

Facts on Trade and TPA:

Trade Agreements Open Markets For U.S. Businesses Around The World. 95% of the world’s population lives outside the United States – trade agreements break down foreign barriers, helping American companies, farmers, and workers sell more goods and services to global consumers.

Global Trade Has A Proven Record Of Promoting U.S. Economic Growth And Job Creation. U.S. exports helped drive the U.S. economy and its recovery in recent years:

  • More than 1 in 5 American jobs are supported by international trade
  • Exports account for nearly 14 percent of overall U.S. GDP; and since 2004, U.S. exports have grown faster than GDP
  • U.S. businesses exported a record $2.3 trillion worth of products and services in 2013.

TPA Strengthens Congress’ Role In Shaping U.S. Trade Agreements. TPA gives Congress more input into trade agreements by informing the Executive Branch what the key negotiating objectives should be.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

###

Allie Brandenburger
Senior Director, Communications
Phone: 703-600-2063
Email: allie.brandenburger@rila.org

Jennifer Safavian joins The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) as Executive Vice President for Government Affairs

Ways And Means Veteran Brings Nearly 20 Years Of Public Policy Experience To RILA

Arlington , VA, 2015-1-6 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced today that Jennifer Safavian has joined the association as Executive Vice President for Government Affairs. As RILA’s top lobbyist, Safavian will oversee RILA’s federal and state advocacy, guiding an agenda that includes cybersecurity, e-Fairness, tax reform and other critical issues facing the retail industry.

Safavian brings nearly 20 years of experience on Capitol Hill to her new role. She joins RILA after four years in senior leadership positions on the House Ways and Means Committee, including serving for the past three years as the Committee’s Staff Director. In that role, she managed a staff of more than 50 lawyers, analysts and subcommittee staff, and oversaw the development of policy related to a range of high profile issues, including tax, trade and health care.

Safavian has been named by the National Law Journal as one of the “Top 10 Lawyers on Capitol Hill” and as one of Roll Call’s “Fabulous 50” Top Congressional Staff Members.

Prior to joining the Ways and Means Committee, Safavian spent eight years as Chief Counsel for Oversight and Investigations for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In this position, Safavian led a team of 20 attorneys that made up the oversight and investigations team for the Committee with primary investigative authority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Earlier in her career, Safavian served on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. She also practiced law in both the District of Columbia and Michigan. Safavian earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from St. Louis University and a law degree from Michigan State University. She is admitted to practice law in Michigan, Missouri and the District of Columbia.

“Jennifer’s extensive experience in policy development combined with her leadership skills position her well to provide RILA members an exceptional level of expertise and strategic thinking,” said RILA President Sandy Kennedy. “With a deep understanding of the issues critical to retail, Jennifer will be a strong advocate for the industry and a valuable addition to the RILA team.”

Safavian officially joined RILA today, January 5.

RILA is an outspoken advocate for the most critical issues facing the retail industry. RILA remains at the forefront of a number of battles, including leveling the playing field for all retailers as it relates to the collection of state sales tax. RILA also plays a leading role on issues including cybersecurity, comprehensive tax reform, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, privacy, trade and a variety of labor and finance issues.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

###

Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org