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The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association


As the Clock Strikes Midnight, Will the U.S. Government Shut Down?

Reports are the Republican Leadership has been meeting this morning to see how to move forward if the Senate, as expected, rejects the House passed measure that would keep the government open until Dec. 15, but would also delay Obamacare for one year and repeal the medical-device tax. The federal government shuts down at midnight if the Senate and House cannot agree on a funding bill.

The House could pass a clean continuing resolution, or CR, with Democratic support. House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) would be compelled to find roughly 120 Republicans in favor of this approach, to ensure that the majority of the GOP conference is on board.

If the House Republicans decide it wants a fight, then Boehner could ping a continuing resolution back to the Senate with additional language to peel back the Affordable Care Act and possibly other policies that might ride alongside, including delaying the Obamacare individual mandate, repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board or sending the same bill they passed early Sunday morning back to the Senate.

One other option that has been discussed includes canceling health-insurance subsidies for some government employees, including members of Congress and their staff. But both parties have expressed resistance to this measure, mainly because low-paid aides would be forced to pay thousands of dollars more for their health care and it’s unlikely, this would appease the Conservatives.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he would not accept any changes to health care policy as part of a CR.

House Republicans have the procedural ability to introduce legislation and bring it to the floor in the same day — authority that needs to be renewed Tuesday. So if there is some compromise agreement with Senate Democrats and the White House, the House could move quickly to pass it.


Signs Point to a Shutdown

Update (September 27, 4:45 p.m.) -  This afternoon, the Senate passed a 2014 continuing resolution (H J Res 59) to fund the government through November 15, at an annualized post-sequester rate of $986.3 billion (almost level with FY13). The Senate's CR moved the end date to November 15 from December 15 and removed House language that would defund the Affordable Care Act.

This weekend, the House will take up the Senate CR. Some predict the House will add another ACA amendment (possibly removing health care contributions for Members and staff) to the CR and send it back to the Senate. That bill could pass in the Senate. 

Media reports the House is considering a one-week CR without anomalies to avoid a partial government shutdown as negotiations continue.

More to come.

Original Post: 

Signs point to a shutdown – how long remains to be seen. House Republican leadership staff are saying their expectation is to receive the CR from the Senate with the ACA funding in place sometime over the weekend. If they receive Sunday, they anticipate taking up the CR Monday, probably attaching an amendment repealing the ACA's individual mandate and sending it back to the Senate.

Should that occur, the Senate would need two to four days to take up the House's version, remove the individual mandate repeal, then send back to the House. At that point, its unclear what the House will do with the Senate's CR, pass it, and send it to the President.

Under that scenario, a shutdown would occur until at least the 3rd. It's still very fluid, but that's a real possibility. capbuildingpic

As with the last time this came close, passports and visas for sure will not be processed. According to a CRS report, in 1996, "approximately 20,000-30,000 applications by foreigners for visas reportedly went unprocessed each day; 200,000 U.S. applications for passports reportedly went unprocessed; and U.S. tourist industries and airlines reportedly sustained millions of dollars in losses."

Obviously, travel of non-essential federal employees will be cancelled and, per an OMB shutdown memo, federal employees on temporary travel will be expected to return home. And, of course, federal contractors will cancel travel.


Gridlock-nado

Earlier this week, CNN's Jim Acosta coined the term Gridlock-nado (ala the SciFy movie Sharknado) to describe the budget mess. Just like the movie, it’s crazy-bad theatre.  The House Republicans are using this fall's fiscal showdown to defund and delay Obamacare. They also announced plans to make a series of demands of the White House in exchange for raising the debt ceiling in mid-October.  But also say they don’t want o shut the government down. Meanwhile, President Obama said that he will not negotiate on raising the debt ceiling. "What I will not do is to create a habit, a pattern, whereby the full faith and credit of the United States ends up being a bargaining chip." 

capitol hill

Here is what we know (pulled from an excerpt from NBC’s Chuck Todd), the House sent its bill to the Senate. The Senate will send back a “clean-ish” continuing resolution to the House that strips away the measure defunding the president’s health care law. Then the House will send something back to the Senate that has SOMETHING to do with the health care. But when does this ping pong happen? The question turns to timing, especially if Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) mounts a filibuster in the Senate. After being challenged by House Republicans, Cruz and his allies might have no choice other than to wage some sort of filibuster -- perhaps not by traditional means but using procedural tricks. But such a delay could allow Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to jam House Speaker John Boehner. Chuck Schumer, in an interview to air on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown” this morning, says any “jamming” of Boehner would be on Cruz and his delay tactics. Schumer also says there are behind-the-scenes negotiations taking place between House GOP leaders and Senate Dem leaders, so that once the Cruz show is over, they can act before midnight Sept. 30. Schumer seemed optimistic that a shutdown will be averted for now, but he also acknowledged the next test will be on debt ceiling.

It certainly does seem to be playing out like a television drama, except that this has real impacts on business travel. The White House Office of Management and Budget is asking federal agencies to prepare for the possibility of a government shutdown at the end of the month. In a memo to department heads, OMB Director Sylvia Burwell says “prudent management” requires agencies to be ready for a lapse in funding after Sept. 30, when the current government funding measure expires.

Taking notice, TMC’s have begun to issue warnings of Flight delays caused by air-traffic controller furloughs as the Federal Aviation Administration considers sending workers home without pay during the next fiscal year amid a funding shortfall. FAA officials have told aviation industry officials and lawmakers that a new round of furloughs will be needed to close a budget gap of as much as $700 million in the fiscal year starting 1 October. The furloughs raise the prospect of a repeat of the flight delays caused in April by traffic-control staffing shortages at U.S. airports. Read the full story at Bloomberg.

GBTA will continue to monitor and keep you posted on these topics.


Volunteerism at Its Finest

Welcome to my first official post on the newly created GBTA blog!  This will be my main form of communication with you.  Since all of us get so many emails every day I thought it would be great to create one central place for you to be able to hear from me and others about all the great things going on at GBTA.

Speaking of things going on at GBTA, last week we hosted our annual All Committee Summit.  This is a perfect example of volunteerism at its finest.  We had a record turnout with over 80 members flying into Alexandria for two and half days of meetings, updates and presentations.  The event kicked off on Monday as we gathered into chilly conference rooms at the Hotel Monaco with a very productive Committee Chair meeting where we brainstormed pressing issues such as open booking, managed travel and the concept of the “empowered” traveler.  We also heard from GBTA staff members in each department about the hard work they are doing.

The following day we broke out into groups to develop priorities and project lists for 2014.  The committee chairs also brought back the brainstorming ideas discussed the day before. There is a great deal of hard work that goes into creating the goals of each committee for the following year.  I have worked on and chaired the Technology committee and know the amount of time and effort it takes to make the committees successful.  So, thank you for all of your hard work!

A special shout out to the new board committee liaisons and long time GBTA members, Rita Visser and Denise Truso for their help and guidance with all the GBTA committees. Their participation is instrumental in keeping the board briefed on the great work of this very dedicated volunteer group. 

And in order to continue to foster the ongoing and open communication between committees, a new group called “All Committee Group” will be created on the GBTA Hub.  The group will be open to all committee members so they can view all of the presentations developed at the Summit and collaborate with the other committees.

This was a great couple of days. I met some new people, reconnected with others and heard about so many exciting projects and goals for the coming year.  I continue to feel energized and hopeful about the projects and milestones we plan to achieve at GBTA.   Again, I would like to thank all of the Committees and companies that allow this level of volunteer participation on behalf of GBTA.

As always, please reach out to me with any questions or feedback.


Moving Forward: New Leadership

In my first communication as your President, I promised open and frequent communications and to always keep you updated on the latest at GBTA. I'd like to start today by telling you about several transitions with volunteer leadership roles.

Donna Kelliher at GBTA Convention

ALLIED LEADERSHIP COUNCIL: The Allied Leadership Council (ALC) serves as the voice of allied members and GBTA sponsors who are the primary source of funding for our organization. As such, I will be reappointing Scott Solombrino, president & CEO of Dav El Chauffeured Transportation Network, to serve as ALC President. Scott has been a strong and very effective advocate for the allied community and his counsel will be important over the next two years as GBTA continues to grow. Institutional intelligence, passion, counsel and commitment are important in planning over the next two years.

Joe Carino, director of hotel business for Amadeus, who served as vice president of the ALC will move into a global committee advisory role and will also serve on the Hotel Committee. I wanted to thank Joe who has been a valuable member of the ALC for his commitment, leadership and insight. Thank you for continuing to share your time and energy with us, Joe! I'm very pleased to announce that I am appointing. 

Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Best Western International, to serve as the new vice president of the ALC. Dorothy has been an outstanding contributor to GBTA over the years, most recently serving as Chair of our GBTA PAC. A search has begun to replace her in that role.

CHAPTER TASK FORCE: I would like to announce the transition process for the Chapter Task Force, which I led with Doug Payne up until now. The Chapter Task Force was established to review the needs of the local chapters and the Association overall, and to create an optimal path forward for the USA Chapters. It has delivered on its objectives and will continue to play a key role in moving the chapter plans forward. Doug Payne, senior vice president of corporate sales for ALTOUR, will continue to lead the Task Force along with Jeremy Gardner, vice president of business services for Accent on Indianapolis. Jeremy will be taking over my role as co-chair.

They will be joined by Karoline Mayr, director of global travel procurement for Deltek and newly elected president of the Chapter Presidents' Council. Also, Jessica Davis, travel services administrator for Sempra Energy, was elected to serve as CPC's Vice President and Patrick Algyer, business travel sales manager for Hotel Ivy, a Luxury Collection, was elected to serve as Secretary Treasurer.

COALITION PROJECT: As stated in my last communication, I would like to announce the leadership of a coalition team to work on GBTA membership requirements and governance changes. I have asked two of our Board Members, Eric Norberg and Bhart Sarin to accept the role as team leaders for the Coalition Project. Their mission is to take the bylaw discussions of the past and elevate them into the discourse of the future. They have begun their work in identifying team members and will make their recommendations this month.

MOVING FORWARD: Finally, I would like to officially welcome our newly elected Board of Directors. This volunteer group of individuals is already hard at work helping to make your Association better each day. The Board is committed to help GBTA expand our global outreach, meet our challenge to double our membership over the next four years, and continue to be the leading voice when it comes to business travel. It is my hope that you will be hearing more from all of us over the next 12 months The future of GBTA looks bright with these volunteer leaders guiding the way and I'm excited to begin this journey with all of you. An important note in closing: my journeys can get very interesting so stay tuned! As always, please reach out to me with any questions or feedback.    


A Challenge Issued

I am honored to take on the role of your GBTA President and CEO, and look forward to our next steps together. As presented at Convention, our goals include:

  • Expanding GBTA’s global outreach;
  • Doubling our membership size from 6,000 to 12,000; and
  • Continuing to be the leading voice in business travel everywhere!

However, to accomplish these goals we need the help, support and involvement of every GBTA member.

Jewel at Monday's General Session

Jewel at Monday's General Session

It was great seeing so many of you at GBTA Convention 2013 – and what a Convention it was! We had 1,531 travel buyers and 6,469 attendees total, making for a busy show floor and what many told me was the most successful convention ever in terms of buyer activity. Close to 80 education sessions took place in front of standing-room only crowds eager to learn the latest industry trends and insights. Jewel, former First Lady Laura Bush and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton each captured the attention of the general session crowds with their entertaining wit, insightful stories and captivating life experiences. By all accounts, Convention was a tremendous success and I can’t wait to see how we can top it in Los Angeles in 2014.

Mrs. Laura Bush at Tuesday's General Session

Mrs. Laura Bush at Tuesday's General Session 

During GBTA Executive Director and COO Mike McCormick’s speech at Convention, he issued a challenge to all of us to double GBTA’s membership. We all need to spread the word and invite friends and colleagues to join. A large part of our continued growth strategy is increasing value and benefits for all members. I want to expand our education programs and access to them globally, reaching more members in more regions of the world with industry best practices and the latest relevant global trends in managed business travel. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Wednesday's General Session

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Wednesday's General Session

Going forward, I plan to communicate with you openly and frequently about the happenings at GBTA. Communication is a two-way street though, so I welcome your input and insight into how we can work together to further GBTA’s goals. Please email me anytime at DonnaKelliher@gbta.org.

As part of that commitment, I would like to announce the formation of a coalition team to work on GBTA membership requirements and governance changes. I will communicate our team leaders and a project definition by August 30, 2013. I want to take the bylaw discussions of the past and elevate them into the discourse of the future. As Hillary Clinton reminded us during her speech, “we have to move beyond politics and personal competition, and we have to trust each other even when we disagree”.

I am excited about the future of our GBTA!