WASHINGTON--()--The National Retail Federation expressed disappointment at the Senate’s early morning vote today on health care reform legislation, and said the vote would be included in its annual ranking of key issues important to the retail industry.
“Sixty members of the U.S. Senate have placed lumps of coal in retailers’ stockings for Christmas”
“Sixty members of the U.S. Senate have placed lumps of coal in retailers’ stockings for Christmas,” NRF Vice President and Employee Benefits Policy Counsel Neil Trautwein said. “This vote and others leading up to the expected final passage on Christmas Eve will long be remembered but not at all in the fond manner Senate supporters would like. To say we are disappointed would be a great understatement. This bill takes the wrong direction on health reform and is now larded with the worst health care pork imaginable.”
In a 60-40 party-line vote held at about 1 a.m. this morning, the Senate approved a procedural motion to cut off debate on the manager’s amendment to H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sponsored by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The action was the first of three procedural votes scheduled this week. If Reid can win the 60 votes required for passage on each of the remaining two procedural motions, the way will be cleared for a Christmas Eve vote on passage of the actual bill.
NRF last week urged senators to reject the Reid bill, saying its conditional employer mandate and other provisions make it “the biggest anti-stimulus legislation imaginable” and that it would lead to further job losses in the retail industry and other segments of the economy.
The National Retail Federation is the world's largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the industry's key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.6 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 24 million employees - about one in five American workers - and 2008 sales of $4.6 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF also represents more than 100 state, national and international retail associations. www.nrf.com.