National Issues

Washington Update


Top Issues in Congress


Information obtained from National Retail Federation, click here


Credit Card Interchange Fees
Language requiring the Federal Reserve to establish regulations resulting in “reasonable” swipe fees for debit cards was included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act enacted in July. Fed rules proposed in December would cap debit swipe fees at no more than 12 cents per transaction rather than the current 1 to 2 percent of the purchase price.

Estate Taxes
The federal estate tax, which was phased out as of the end of 2009, returns at a rate of 35 percent on estates of $5 million or more in 2011 as part of legislation to extend Bush-era tax cuts.

Federal Tax Reform
President Obama’s deficit commission has recommended spending cuts and reform of the existing tax structure rather than creation of a new Value Added Tax that an NRF report said would cost the nation hundreds of thousands of jobs. But VAT proposals could resurface as Congress considers tax reform over the next two years.

Gift Cards
New regulations requiring expiration dates and dormancy fees to be printed on gift cards went into effect in August 2010, but retailers were given until February 2011 to get old cards off the shelves.

Health Care Reform
Employers who fail to provide “affordable” health coverage to workers will face massive financial penalties under the 2010 health care reform law, but NRF is working with the Obama Administration to ease some other provisions of the law.