GOP wants ORAL
A wave of closures in the oriental carpet retail sector has provided a potent new issue for critics of President Barack Obama’s economic policies.
The stores, known as Oriental Carpet Dealers (OCD), offer Persian rugs, Oriental rugs, Kilims, and area carpets at unbelievable prices. They are a familiar sight in shopping districts across the United States.
Yet all is not well with the OCD, with Department of Commerce statistics showing more than 5,000 OCDs closed in the month of August. But now the OCD cause has been picked up by Republicans anxious to point out shortcomings in the president’s policies toward business.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) is leading the GOP charge over the plight of the carpet businesses. Leader of the newly formed Oriental Retail Assistance Legislation (ORAL) Group of House Republicans, Bachmann went on FOX News Channel’s O’Reilly Factor yesterday to describe what is happening in malls and on Main Streets across the country.
Bachmann told host Bill O’Reilly that she passed no less than a dozen Oriental Carpet Dealers on her drive to Capitol Hill that morning, “and all of them had huge banners proclaiming ‘Going Out Of Business – Huge Savings’,” said Bachmann.
“This portends an economic disaster. I want to find a great ORAL way to stop further losses of businesses, including ones owned by hard-working floor covering sellers who come from places such as Karastan and Belgian Congoleum,” Bachmann said.
The legislation would get $2 billion into the hands of American consumers, in the form of vouchers for 10% off when buying two or more carpets at already low, low prices. Vouchers would be distributed via Valpak mailings.
House Minority Leader John Boehner endorsed Bachmann’s plan. “What are Americans who want to shop for carpet that matches their drapes supposed to do? The number of OCD closures is clear evidence of an economic disaster caused by Democrat policies,” he said.
Added the visibly emotion Boehner: “We should be slashing prices, not commerce. This wholesale slaughter of retail must be stopped, it should be at the top of our list.”
If it passes the House, Bachmann’s bill would need to be woven into a Senate version, S. 69, written by Sen. John Ensign of Nevada. Ensign heads up another GOP panel working on the issue, the Senate-House Analysis Group (SHAG).
“The interest we see today in ORAL-SHAG legislation gives me hope the unraveling of the oriental rug business can be stopped,” Ensign told a packed press conference.