On October 31 we announced an economic stimulus proposal for a National Sales Tax Holiday. The proposal would offer consumers ten days of sales-tax-free shopping, beginning the day after Thanksgiving.

In the sixteen days since we announced this innovative, fair, fiscally responsible and stimulative proposal, significant progress has been made. We have taken a good idea, written legislative language, established a workable system of state reimbursement, explained the proposal to forty-five state Governors, lined up fourteen cosponsors from across the political spectrum and introduced legislation.

The timing of our announcement and bill introduction coincided with the beginning of a serious national debate in the Senate -- and across the nation -- about a stimulus package to get our economy back on its feet.

This week in the Senate, that debate came to a halt.

As a result, we have not yet had the opportunity to bring our proposal up for consideration and a vote. Therefore, it will not be possible for Congress to pass, and for the states to approve, a sales tax holiday in time for the first week of the holiday shopping season, as originally planned in our bill. We will make appropriate adjustments as the Congress advances stimulus legislation.

We encourage all Americans to do their holiday shopping and to take advantage of the low-interest financing and other incentives that many retailers are currently offering. Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of the U.S. GDP, and the best way to help all facets of the economy is for Americans to get back to their daily lives.

We are going to continue to push this proposal forward because we agree with the many economists, editorial pages, retailers and small business owners who believe a national sales tax holiday is a good idea. We encourage them to keep the pressure on Congress and the President to pass a meaningful economic stimulus package that includes a sales tax holiday.