The government may be back up and running – for now -- after an 11th-hour vote in Congress, but the National Retail Federation (NRF) wants legislators to take the lessons of the 16-day federal government shutdown and looming debt-ceiling crisis to heart.
“While there is some satisfaction at achieving a deal, [the] agreement between the House and Senate merely ensures more opportunities to continue the debate while avoiding tough decisions about our economic future,” noted Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF, which, from its headquarters in Washington, D.C., has had a front-row seat to the unfolding drama at the Capitol and the White House.
Added Shay: “As we head into the holiday shopping season, retailers and consumers need stability and certainty from policymakers in Washington and assurance that the economy will not implode due to their actions or, more important, lack thereof. This new norm of legislating from crisis to crisis is no way to govern.”
He urged a bipartisan resolution to the issues dividing Congress. “Our economic recovery is retail-led and consumer-driven, and political leaders on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue need to stop undermining consumer confidence with partisan posturing,” said Shay. “When consumers cut back their spending, it threatens jobs in every industry. If it’s bad for retail, it’s bad for the economy, and ultimately the biggest losers are American taxpayers.”
Although he acknowledged that the passage of the bill to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling “will provide some breathing room for legislators to negotiate and compromise, … it is not a solution to our long-term economic or fiscal challenges.”