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Election leaves question marks

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NEW YORK — Retailers expect the Republican Party takeover of the executive and legislative branches of government on January 20 to impact several issues important to the industry, including health care, trade and taxes.

As the nation’s second-largest private-sector employer, retailers have closely tracked implementation of the Affordable Care Act over the past six years and worked to ensure that employer-sponsored coverage remains a competitive and affordable option for employees and their families, the Retail Industry Leaders Association said on its website.

“In the months leading up to the election, the health policy community on and off the Hill, consumer advocates, employers and trade associations have been thinking strategically about the enactment of targeted, bipartisan changes to the functionality of the ACA,” RILA noted. “With an incoming Republican Congress and a new administration, there is a much different outlook for 2017. There is a renewed interest in tackling systematic health reform on a much larger scale, with a broadened focus on accessibility and affordability in all markets, including the ERISA self-insured employer-sponsor system rooted in our federal tax code.”

Health care is one of 10 issues of importance to retailers that the National Retail Federation is monitoring. Trade is another.

“Trump adamantly opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement supported by NRF that would eliminate virtually all of the $6 billion in annual tariffs on goods from member countries and boost U.S. spending power by more than $1,000 per household,” NRF said in a statement. “He also wants to impose ‘huge’ tariffs on imports from China and tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement, which lets U.S. factories easily obtain parts from Canada and Mexico and just as easily ship finished products back. NRF strongly opposes new tariffs and supports TPP and other free-trade agreements because retailers rely heavily on imported ­merchandise.”

On immigration, “NRF is concerned that the government not create unreasonable burdens for employers in their role in verifying the immigration or citizenship status of workers.”

NRF said it would urge the Trump administration to take action on cybersecurity legislation, including a measure to set a “uniform national standard” for data breach notification by businesses. In the absence of congressional action, more than 45 states have passed their own data breach notification ­regulations.

On wage and labor issues, NRF said it will seek “more constructive opportunities for engagement with the employer community that helps employers and employees work together for mutual benefit.”

NRF noted that the president-elect has not taken a position on NRF-backed legislation that would allow states to require online retailers to collect sales tax, as brick-and-mortar retailers do. “But Democrats have been more supportive on the issue, so GOP control of both the White House and Congress means the long-stalled issue is likely to remain at status quo,” NRF noted.


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