by Max Wengroff / NGA Manager of Government Relations and Membership
From the anticompetitive tactics of power buyers to rising costs and credit card fees, independent grocers are facing myriad difficulties that impact their operations.
To address this, the National Grocers Association worked with members of Congress and NGA member companies to set up store tours throughout August. Thanks to our members, NGA was able to hold more than 15 store tours this year.
What is a store tour and what is its impact?
As many federal policies impact independent grocers, NGA members often host members of Congress to give them a firsthand view of how the policies they vote on impact their home districts and states. It provides a unique opportunity to engage with lawmakers outside of their typical confines.
NGA’s team of lobbyists meets with members of Congress and their staff each day in Washington to communicate the issues facing independent grocers, but a face-to-face meeting with your member of Congress has an even greater impact.
Not only are you a business and community leader, employing perhaps hundreds of individuals in their district or state, but they work for you. It is their responsibility to represent you and your interests in Congress. As one of their constituents, your words mean more to them.
For example, after a recent store tour with an NGA member, U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), chairman of the House Antitrust Subcommittee, spoke to the impact of grassroots advocacy, saying, “My constituents aren’t contacting me worried about mergers between tech companies, but one thing I’ve been contacted about multiple times is the small independent grocers feel like there are monopolistic practices being used against them.”
Members of Congress meet with folks all day, but they’re not often invited into a grocery store and shown the impact of federal policies right in front of them.
Making your voice heard
NGA members discussed a variety of topics with members of Congress, including supporting the Credit Card Competition Act and the importance of ending power buyers’ anticompetitive practices. The Credit Card Competition Act would bring much needed competition to the credit card marketplace, lowering acceptance costs for merchants and consumers. For more than a decade, two major card networks have set interchange fees that merchants pay to issuers of the credit and debit cards which Americans transact.
NGA members also asked members of Congress to help rein in the anticompetitive practices of power buyers through enforcement of Robinson-Patman Act. They provided their representatives and senators with firsthand examples of how economic discrimination is impacting their business and the community they serve.
With the Farm Bill expiring at the end of September, top of mind for many NGA members is ensuring that SNAP remains an effective program. They spoke to their members of Congress about maintaining SNAP Choice, expanding nutrition incentives and opposing detriments to the program such as mandatory SNAP data reporting requirements and allowing processing fees on EBT transactions.
How can I get involved?
If you’re interested in hosting your member of Congress, find out how NGA and its Government Relations team can help. Contact Max Wengroff at [email protected].
For more photos of store visits: https://www.nationalgrocers.org/news/store-tours-prove-effective-in-showing-congress-how-policies-tit-home/