NGA Statement on End of the Year Federal Funding Legislation

December 30, 2015

Arlington, VA – The National Grocers Association (NGA), the national trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, applauded today the passage of combined tax relief and government funding legislation, which included many significant wins for the industry.

“NGA applauds Congress for working together to pass bipartisan legislation that ensures the government is funded through Fiscal Year 2016 and includes many positive, pro-growth provisions that are critical to our industry,” said NGA President and CEO Peter Larkin. “By granting a long term extension of important tax provisions, such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, and providing businesses with certainty by making some provisions permanent, such as Section 179 expensing, this legislation is the step in the right direction, giving independent supermarket operators much needed certainty to invest and grow their businesses. While NGA continues to believe that comprehensive tax reform is necessary, we are pleased to see Congress give business owners more predictability this year by providing certainty in the form of more long-term extensions of these provisions.”

Additionally, included within the bill were provisions that reinforce the one year delay in implementation of the FDA’s menu labeling regulation and a provision to repeal country of origin labeling (COOL) for muscle cuts of beef and pork.

“The FDA’s regulations continue to present challenges for independent supermarket operators covered under the law. Additional time will help make it easier for grocers to understand the actions they need to take to comply with the law, and will give NGA time to work with regulators and policymakers to address areas within the current regulation that remain problematic,” Larkin commented. “The repeal of COOL for beef and pork represents a big win for NGA members, as COOL has proven to be problematic to retailers and producers over the past several years. We were pleased to see the inclusion of this provision to bring the U.S. in compliance with our international trade obligations and avert costly retaliatory tariffs.”

Also included within the bill was a provision that prevents changes to the hours of service rules that apply to commercial trucking, until a study has been completed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that demonstrates “statistically significant” benefits to driver health and safety.

“NGA members prioritize the well-being of the drivers they employ, and the safety of those on the road around them, but before imposing cumbersome regulations, its impact on driver safety should be reviewed,” Larkin concluded.