Making a Difference in D.C.

May 25, 2017—

HFA retailers share their stories and concerns with legislators.

One of the benefits of being a member of the Home Furnishings Association is the advocacy done on behalf of furniture retailers. HFA members are proactive and part of the conversations that influence the legislators and regulators who write the bills and rules that affect retail’s bottom line. Sitting on the sidelines is not an option.

Last week HFA members and International Home Furnishings Representatives Association (IHFRA) members met with Mark Calabria, Vice President Pence’s chief economist, as well as Representatives Scalise (R-La.), Reichert (R-Wa.), Mast (R-Fl.) and Pelosi’s (D-Ca.) staff, Senators Wyden (D-Or.) and Durbin’s (D-Il.) staff and Representative Denny Heck (D-Wa.) urging them to oppose the Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) being spearheaded by House Speaker Paul Ryan and to speak out against the possible repeal of the swipe fee agreement (Durbin amendment), part of the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10).

Meeting in Senator Durbin’s office.

The HFA/IHFRA group also joined American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) members in representing the furniture industry; the group was addressed by Senators Warner (D-VA) and Burr (R-NC) and Representatives Budd (R-NC) and Messer (R-IN) as well as Ann Marie Buerkle, Acting Chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Chris Campbell, Majority Staff Director of the Senate Finance Committee, and Rachelle Bernstein, VP and Tax Counsel for the National Retail Federation.

Ann Marie Buerkle, Acting Chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“Each time our members come to Washington they’re giving a voice to the advocacy we work hard at all year,” said HFA CEO Sharron Bradley. “These face-to-face meetings where Wogie Badcock relates how the Durbin amendment has been good for his business and his customers or where Cynthia Heathcoe talks about the importance of fair tax reform make a difference. Our presence year after year also shows Congress that furniture retailers of all sizes and locations are engaged and aware of the issues and eager to improve the business environment.”

IHFRA’s vice president, Al David said, “It was a worthwhile endeavor that everyone in the industry—retailers, manufacturers, reps—should attend. It’s very eye-opening. I thought we came away with some positive movement in the policies we were looking at. I think it’s important and I’d like to see more people participate.”

Robert & Cynthia Heathcoe, Wogie Badcock, Jim Kittle and David Beckmann heading through the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s security.

HFA’s Emerging Star for 2017, Cynthia Heathcoe of Contemporary Living in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. joined the fly-in for the first time this year. “The opportunity to meet with our country’s decision makers and be a part of the team representing our industry has been a life changing experience,” she said. “I’m already”looking forward to next year’s fly-in.”

*Thanks in part to retailers—including HFA members who reached out to their legislators and to those who visited D.C. last week—debit swipe fee reform has been saved. Last night (5/24/17) the language that would have eliminated the cap on debit card swipe fees was dropped from the Financial CHOICE Act. Click here for the full story in Politico.

Spotted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday entering the EEOB.

HFA member Rawson Haverty Jr., Haverty‘s and Kurt Darrow, La-Z-Boy in D.C.

Jim Kittle speaks with Rep. Luke Messer, (R-IN).

HFA IN ACTION L to R: Cheryl and Tom Olinde, Harrison Rose, Wogie Badcock, Robert and Cynthia Heathcoe, VP Pence‘s chief economist, Mark Calabria, Al David, Jim Kittle, David Beckmann, Eric Blackledge and Lisa Casinger.

About the Author

Lisa Casinger
Lisa Casinger is the government relations liaison for HFA and the editorial director for RetailerNOW. Contact her at lcasinger@myhfa.org.