Over 130 GBTA Members Take to Capitol Hill for 17th Annual GBTA Legislative Summit
GBTA hosted its 17th annual Legislative Summit last week. Over 130 GBTA members representing 23 states attended, calling on lawmakers to ensure the entire 9-11 Aviation Security Fee is used for airport security and passenger facilitation, to further strengthen national security and expand international travel through the Visa Waiver Program and to support a working group on ground transportation at airports.
Key Issues GBTA Members Discussed with Congress:
- Keep the 9/11 Security Fee for Safety: Eliminate the diversion of the 9/11 Security Fee through the FASTER Act. Ensure that passenger security fees go solely towards aviation security and funding TSA programs to provide a safe, flexible aviation network for business travelers. Unless the current law is changed, over $19 billion in total will be diverted away from aviation security by 2027 to pay down the national deficit.
- Strengthen National Security and Expand International Travel: Establishing a process for more qualified countries to join the Visa Waiver Program will encourage more international visitors, grow the U.S. economy, and create jobs, while also improving national security and diplomacy. The U.S. welcomed approximately 20 million Visa Waiver Program travelers in FY 2014 who, according to the Department of Commerce, injected nearly $231 million a day into local economies across the country. GBTA urges Congress to pass the JOLT Act.
- Support a Working Group for Ground Transportation at Airports: Create a federal ground transportation working group that will provide ground transport stakeholders the opportunity to have a voice to speak on behalf of their companies and the business travel community.
There is no question that business travel is critical to our economy – every 1 percent increase in business travel spending creates an additional 74,000 jobs, nearly $5.5 billion in GDP and $3.3 billion in wages. We need lawmakers to adopt policies that support our business travelers and help our industry grow. I’m pleased to see so many members flying in to D.C. to advocate for our industry and share their stories with their elected representatives.
The Legislative Summit kicked off with a full day of discussions with top lawmakers, industry insiders and political strategists on key travel issues.
Attendees heard from several members of Congress including Garret Graves (R-LA) who discussed the importance of aviation security and infrastructure investment. John Katko, (R-NY), a two-time GBTA Navigator Award winner and co-sponsor of the FASTER Act (H.R. 1171) told attendees that the 9/11 security fee should not be diverted to other things which was greeted by applause as this has been an on-going concern for the business travel industry. Lou Correa (D-CA) also weighed in on the unnecessary diversion of fees and the importance of ensuring safe and secure travel. The event concluded with Debbie Lesko (R-FL) discussing aviation security, biometric tech and REAL ID.
Through the GBTA Legislative Summit, business travel professionals from across the country have an opportunity to advocate for the future of the business travel industry and meet with lawmakers to share their opinions on key industry issues. This two-day event included 180 visits with Senators and Members of Congress.