The AG CHAIN Act would provide a federal tax holiday and a payroll tax exemption for all essential workers, including supermarket employees
The National Grocers Association (NGA), which represents the retail and wholesale grocers comprising the independent sector of the food distribution industry, has hailed the introduction of the Assistance and Gratitude for Coronavirus Heroes in Agribusiness who are Invaluable to the Nation, or the AG CHAIN Act, which would provide a federal tax holiday and a payroll tax exemption for all essential employees in the food and agriculture industry.
Introduced by Pennsylvania Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson, a Republican, and Dwight Evans, a Democrat, the bill is an extension of the congressmen's earlier GROCER Act.
“Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, independent grocers and wholesalers have made nothing less than heroic efforts to keep the food supply chain humming, using every tool in their toolbox to restock and replenish shelves and serve their communities,” noted Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based NGA. “We appreciate Congressmen Thompson and Evans for their leadership on this important legislation to recognize the great efforts employees in the food supply chain have taken to provide Americans with life necessities during these challenging times.”
“NGA supports Reps. Thompson and Evans’ legislation recognizing the extraordinary service of America’s frontline food and agriculture workers,” added Chris Jones, NGA’s SVP of government relations and counsel. “Independent grocers have gone to great lengths to protect their employees and reward them for their tireless efforts and service to their communities. The AG CHAIN Act honors these supermarket superheroes and will help boost the income of workers that show up for work every day. We will continue to leverage the power of independent grocers’ grassroots and work with our champions in Congress to pass this needed piece of legislation.”
NGA members sent more than 2,000 letters to their representatives in Congress, requesting the introduction of legislation to provide supermarket associates with tax relief for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In other government affairs news, Arlington-based FMI – The Food Industry Association responded to Senate Judiciary Committee’s May 12 hearing examining liability during the pandemic with a call from FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin for Congress to “enact sensible liability protections that safeguard our industry’s extraordinary efforts to keep Americans fed and with access to items sold through our pharmacies that contribute to their continued good health.”
“FMI wholesalers and retailers have worked tirelessly from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to serve our communities and protect our associates,” said Sarasin. “The industry has partnered with our suppliers to continue providing a safe, healthy and affordable food supply that has helped create stability in this challenging time. Businesses that have acted in good faith to protect their associates and customers, and implement best practices that reflect the current state of science should not have to face lawsuits that second-guess these efforts after the fact.”