Retailers push broad economic agenda

Retailers on Wednesday urged President Obama to push for a slew of priorities they argue will boost economic growth. 

The National Retail Federation asked the president to focus on issues from taxes and trade to patent reform and sale tax fairness in his State of the Union address scheduled for Tuesday.

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"We need a strong economy that can compete on a global scale and create an atmosphere of opportunity that will put Americans back to work," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a letter to the White House.

"The steps we have outlined, coupled with the opportunity created by the 2014 elections for legislation to finally move in Congress if the White House and Capitol Hill can truly work together, are the keys to making that goal a reality," he said. 

Shay argued that even legislation with broad support had struggled to get past partisan sniping in the last Congress. 

But November’s elections that put Congress into Republican control should "create an opportunity for real progress."

“November’s elections ended the partisan split that left Congress in gridlock for far too long, and we think the results will create an opportunity for real progress,” Shay said.

Retailers say tax reform, trade, immigration, sales tax fairness, patent litigation reform, cybersecurity, healthcare and transportation are keys issues where progress can be made.

"We don’t expect you to rubber stamp the work of Congress," Shay wrote.

"We encourage you and the leadership of both parties in both chambers of Congress to set aside partisan differences and seize this unique opportunity to finally act on a number of long-stalled bills that would boost the economy and jobs for the benefit of the American people."