More than 270 hotel owners, operators, and investors from across the country came to Washington, D.C., April 1-2 to promote the industry to the members of Congress as a part of AH&LA’s Legislative Action Summit (LAS). While they went to Capitol Hill to share their views on the impact that key issues such as health care, immigration reform, and minimum wage have on their hotels, they also sought to convey the economic importance of the lodging industry to key members of the House and Senate.
During the two-day event, hoteliers heard from a number of people engaged in Washington policy discussions, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Hilton President and CEO Chris Nassetta, Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson, Host Hotels President and CEO Ed Walter, and 2014 AAHOA Chair Pratik Patel. “Whether it is immigration reform, promotion of travel to the U.S., or health care, the voice of lodging is important in these ongoing policy debates,” said Katherine Lugar, AH&LA president and CEO.
High on the lodging industry’s wish list for Congress was the need to reauthorize Brand USA, pass the Jobs Originated Through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, renew the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, and firmly establish the definition of full-time employment under the Affordable Care Act. There was also continued interest on the part of many hoteliers in streamlining the country’s visa application process and expanding the Visa Waiver Program.
As part of the event, representatives from the Republican and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committees provided an inside view of this fall’s midterm elections, including a race-by-race breakdown as well as an overview of how the outcome might affect key industry initiatives.
“We won’t likely see movement before this election,” Marriot’s Sorenson said regarding immigration reform. “But you want to continue to plow the field and make sure the members of Congress are hearing the voice of business.”
Photo Credit: Capitol Dome via Bigstock