Uncertainty Over Funding for DHS Demonstrates Need for Long-Term Funding, Planning
This afternoon the House passed a bill to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the rest of the fiscal year. This comes after Congress could not come to an agreement last week instead passing a one-week extension to keep DHS funded just hours before the deadline where funding would expires.
The hotly debated bill struggled to make its way through Congress because of policy riders related to President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The bill that passed today and will be put in front of the President was a “clean” bill without any of these riders.
GBTA is relieved Congress finally took action to fully fund DHS through the end of this fiscal year, ensuring that road warriors can continue to travel without disruption. We are, however, disappointed that the path to a full-year funding bill was fraught with such uncertainty.
The New York Times ran a column by Joe Sharkey highlighting the uncertainty business travelers faced due to the funding standoff.
Today’s vote recognizes the critical need to ensure that the security infrastructure at our nation’s airports, ports and border crossings remain fully staffed and “open for business.” Business travel will account for $310.2 billion in spending during 2015. For every one percent decrease in business travel spending, the U.S. economy could lose an additional 71,000 jobs, nearly $5 billion in GDP, $3 billion in wages and $1.2 billion in tax collections.
Congress must stop moving from crisis-to-crisis, and instead provide the travel community and travel programs the certainty that they need. Narrowly averting a crisis such as a DHS shutdown sends the wrong signal to businesses.
Going forward, Congress should continue working together to make sure that DHS, which supports the movement of people, goods and services throughout our transportation system, remains fully funded.
For the full back-story, click here for a round-up of news coverage on the DHS funding issue.