The National Retail Federation supports legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare

Bills Do Not Include Tax on Employer-Provided Health Benefits

WASHINGTON, 2017-Mar-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (March 7, 2017) said it supports legislation unveiled by House Republicans to repeal and replace former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

“Retailers want reforms that push us toward a more competition-driven private health care market, and the ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bills take us in that direction,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said.

“We believe this reform can be achieved without disturbing the tax treatment of employer-provided benefits, which are the foundation of coverage for more than 175 million Americans,” French said. “Employees are highly sensitive to any change in benefits and younger, healthier workers could choose to drop their coverage altogether rather than pay more taxes. We are pleased that House leadership heard our concerns and that their bills do not disturb this structure. We will work with Congress to repeal all threats to employer-based coverage, including the so-called Cadillac tax on health benefits.”

Retailers oppose proposals to cap the current exclusion from taxable income of employer-provided health benefits, and NRF has been working to educate lawmakers on the consequences of taxing health benefits. While House Republican leadership proposed capping the exclusion last June, the provision was not included in the legislation released on Monday. NRF nonetheless remains wary that the concept will emerge in other legislation later this year.

NRF supports efforts to repeal ObamaCare’s employer mandate and to provide the individual and small group markets with interim stability.

“Health benefits are highly sought after, even for small start-up businesses, and greater stability will help create a better functioning market,” French said.

Retailers are also pleased with the reform bills’ focus on market-driven changes to benefit offerings. Greater variation in what is offered and freeing up where it can be purchased would help lower costs through greater competition. Enhancements to health savings accounts, greater state flexibility in rating factors and the availability of catastrophic coverage are all important reforms NRF supports.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

Contact:

Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NACS welcomes the reintroduction of legislation on menu labeling regulations

WASHINGTON, D.C., 2017-Feb-03 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) today (2/2/2017) applauded the reintroduction of legislation to protect small businesses and their workers from the unreasonable burdens and potential criminal penalties of the Food and Drug Administration’s final menu labeling regulations.

The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, reintroduced by Representatives Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA 5) and Tony Cardenas (D-CA 29) in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 772) and Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Angus King (I-ME) in the U.S. Senate (S. 261), provides a more practical and flexible approach to regulations finalized in 2014 by the FDA. The FDA is due to begin enforcing the current regulations on May 5, 2017.

“We need some common-sense relief to the FDA’s menu labeling requirements so that it is reasonable and achievable for local convenience stores, grocery stores, restaurants, and others that sell food.  Small businesses are already having to spend money trying to comply with difficult and unworkable regulations.  I am pleased to introduce this bill that recognizes the importance of menu labeling, but more importantly recognizes that there needs to be flexibility for businesses so they can provide important nutritional information to customers in the most useful way,” said U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO).

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05) also weighed in: “Whether you buy food at the local convenience store or eat out at the neighborhood diner, you should have access to important nutritional information. The FDA’s one-size-fits-all approach places additional burdens on the backs of our nation’s small business owners without giving them the flexibility they need to comply with the regulations. How businesses provide that information should be consistent with how their customers actually place orders—including by phone, online or through mobile apps. By bringing this rule into the 21st Century, we can provide relief to our job creators and preserve important nutritional information for American families at the same time.”

NACS has called for rapid action by Congress and the new administration as the May 5 compliance deadline nears. Lyle Beckwith, NACS senior vice president of government relations, stated, “It is critical that Congress and the new administration act quickly before the May 5 compliance deadline to provide for common-sense, simpler menu-labeling regulations that would ensure more nutritional information and choice for consumers—without exposing small businesses to burdensome costs and penalties and their employees to potential felony prosecution for accidentally putting too many pickles in a sandwich.”

The current FDA menu-labeling regulations create rigid requirements that do not take into account the differences in approach to foodservice between big-chain restaurants and convenience stores, grocery stores and delivery operations.  In particular, the FDA regulations added unfair costs and compliance barriers to establishments with offerings that do not appear on a centralized “menu” board and establishments that may have multiple coffee, frozen drink and food islands as opposed to the central ordering point in a traditional fast food restaurant.  The regulations also place a store or restaurant at risk for criminal penalties if it gives some customers larger servings than they expected based on the calorie information provided.

The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, which passed the House last year by a strong bipartisan vote of 266–144, maintains but modifies FDA’s menu-labeling regulations so businesses may provide nutritional information to customers in a more practical format. The legislation protects small businesses from overly burdensome costs and penalties, while also removing the possibility of criminal penalties.

Convenience store foodservice sales have risen to $42 billion a year—now accounting for nearly 19% of total in-store revenues—as busy customers look for fast and healthier options to go.

Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 154,000 stores across the country, conducts 160 million transactions a day, sells 80% of the fuel purchased in the country and had total sales of $575 billion in 2015. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,700 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

Source: NACS

NRF on FTC’s Patent Assertion Entity Activity study: Congress should use the momentum from the study to pass legislation to reform patent laws

WASHINGTON, 2016-Oct-08 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (October 6, 2016) issued the following statement from Vice President for Government Relations and Political Affairs Beth Provenzano following the release of the Federal Trade Commission’s Patent Assertion Entity Activity study. According to the study, 17 percent of companies receiving demands for payment from patent trolls are retailers, who also make up 10 percent of all defendants in patent litigation and 13 percent of companies paying royalties to patent trolls.

“Congress should use the momentum from this study to pass legislation to reform patent laws as soon as they return from the October recess. The common sense suggestions that the FTC presented today would level the playing field for retailers who are currently battling patent trolls, and bring balance to the patent litigation system that is vital for the retail industry.

“This report reveals data supporting the facts we have been presenting to members of Congress for many years –  that retailers are being victimized by patent trolls’ abusive practices, and that this abuse is diverting vital resources that retailers could otherwise use to invest and grow their businesses, further innovation and create jobs.”

The study is the conclusion of an investigation into patent trolls the FTC began in 2013.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

Contact:

Treacy Reynolds
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF applauded Representative Kurt Schrader’s legislation that would phase in Labor Department’s drastic new overtime regulations

WASHINGTON, 2016-Jul-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation applauded legislation introduced today by Representative Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., that would phase in the Labor Department’s drastic new overtime regulations, saying the measure would mitigate the substantial damage the requirements will inflict on millions of workplaces across the country.

“Representative Schrader’s legislation will help blunt the damage to America’s job creators that the reckless new overtime rules will cause unless Congress takes action by December,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “The Labor Department’s changes to the overtime threshold are too much, too fast for both employers and employees to adjust to without serious negative consequences for both. The Schrader bill addresses the ‘too fast’ part of the problem and we support it.”

Under regulations scheduled to take effect December 1, employers would be required to pay overtime to most workers who make up to $47,476 per year when they work more than 40 hours a week. That level is more than double the current threshold of $23,660, and the regulations include unprecedented automatic increases to the salary level every three years thereafter.

The Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act introduced today by Schrader would ease the impact of the regulations by allowing the threshold to rise to just under $36,000 this year, with the remainder phased in over the next three years.

NRF continues to support the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act, introduced in March by Senator Tim Scott, R-S.C., and House Workforce Protections Subcommittee Chairman Tim Walberg, R-Mich. The measure would pause implementation of the regulations and require the Labor Department to complete a comprehensive analysis of the impact the changes would have on small businesses and lower-wage regions of the country. In addition, the bill would block the regulations’ automatic increases to the wage threshold.

“If left unchecked, these overtime rules will hobble the careers of millions of workers in the retail, nonprofit and higher education communities,” French said. “We appreciate the bipartisan efforts of lawmakers in both chambers to come to their aid and are pursuing all options to correct these misguided regulations.”

Research conducted for NRF shows that the overtime regulations will force employers to limit hours or cut base pay in order to make up for the added payroll costs, leaving most workers with no increase in take-home pay despite added administrative costs. A separate survey found that the majority of retail managers and assistant managers the regulations are supposed to help oppose the plan.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

Contact:

Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF