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NRF calls on Congress to hold Lame Duck Session on economy
16
Oct '08
The National Retail Federation called on Congress to hold a lame duck session to address the nation's economy as soon as possible after the November elections, and to include tax relief for consumers in any economic stimulus package that is adopted.

“The United States is in the midst of a national crisis,” NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin said. “Extraordinary measures are needed to address this profound economic emergency that has affected every American.”

“Consumer confidence has been badly eroded by the foundering economy and instability of the financial markets,” Mullin said. “Because consumer spending represents two-thirds of GDP and supports tens of millions of jobs, it is difficult if not impossible to foresee an improvement in overall economic growth until consumer confidence and spending improve.”

“There is hard evidence that the first round of economic stimulus checks were used for good purposes: to pay down debt, to help fund ordinary household expenses, and to purchase necessities. But we believe a second round of economic stimulus is needed and must include relief for the consumer. Increased consumer spending would create demand throughout all sectors of the nation's economy, from manufacturing to transportation to construction.”

Mullin's comments came in a letter sent today to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Pelosi said this week that the House is considering a lame duck session after the November 4 elections to consider economic stimulus legislation. The Senate is already scheduled to return November 17, although the agenda for the Senate session has not been determined.

Talk of a lame duck session and economic stimulus legislation comes as retailers are facing the worst holiday season in six years. NRF's annual forecast predicts sales will rise 2.2 percent to $470.4 billion, but that would be the slowest growth since 2002, when holiday sales rose 1.3 percent, and half the 10-year average of 4.4 percent.

A survey conducted for NRF this summer found consumers had spent or planned to spend 46 percent of the $105.7 billion in rebate checks authorized under the economic stimulus bill President Bush signed into law in February. That would amount to about $48 billion put into circulation in the economy, with most of the rest used to pay down debt or put into savings to help stimulate future spending.

National Retail Federation

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