Consumer spending

NRF urges Congress to end government shutdown, raise debt ceiling

national retail federationThe National Retail Federation urged Congress on Wednesday to end the budget impasse and pass a bill to end the government shutdown, expressing support for both continuing resolution and debt ceiling bills.

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay pointed to economic data that indicates the government shutdown has had a negative impact on consumer spending and has contributed to a decline in consumer confidence. Data from Gallup showed consumer confidence has fallen to the same level seen during the 2008 economic collapse.

“For retailers – who represent the sector of the American economy most closely tied to consumer attitudes – these numbers are deeply disturbing,” Shay said. “Moreover, since the very modest growth the U.S. economy has experienced following the 2008 recession has been attributed to the willingness of the American consumer to keep shopping, a lasting decline in consumer confidence is likely to translate into increased unemployment and slower growth in coming months.”

Shay also elaborated on problems the shutdown has caused for retailers, including a lack of economic data and reports over processing of imported merchandise.

“Washington can’t keep governing from crisis to crisis and quarter to quarter,” Shay said. “Kicking the can down the road may be the norm these days in Washington, but it is an irresponsible approach to the problems confronting our nation. We need leadership from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue on the key issues facing our country, particularly policies that put the economy on a firm footing for long-term growth.”

Shay said the Obama administration and Congress should address policies that could encourage both parties to negotiate an end to the shutdown.

“It’s time for Congress to get our government back to work – and time for Congress itself to get back to work on building a strong, stable national economy that will restore the United States to its rightful place as the leader of the global economy,” Shay said.

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