WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA) today commended Congressional action to pass $1.1 billion in funding to battle the Zika virus. The hotel and travel industries have been advocating for Congress to pass emergency funding to combat the virus, most recently writing an op-ed in The Hill and sending a letter to Congressional leadership underscoring the importance of pursuing preventive measures to fight the virus. The measure passed by Congress this evening will include funding for mosquito control, response and readiness in high-risk areas; vaccine research and programs to ensure vaccines are available to the public quickly and safely; and health care for mothers and children experiencing health complications from Zika.
“We applaud Congress for making the right decision to pass the necessary funding to support new research, vaccines, and advanced solutions to mosquito control just as existing funding was expected to run out,” said AH&LA president and CEO Katherine Lugar. “This much-needed funding will not only help ensure the future health and safety of residents and travelers, but also the strength and stability of the travel industry, particularly those travel destinations hardest hit by the impact of the virus, such as Florida and other areas along the coast.”
AH&LA also commended the House of Representatives’ passage of a six-month delay of the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule, which raises the overtime threshold for eligible employees by December 1, 2016 from $23,660 to $47,476. The legislation, H.R. 6094, the Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools and Nonprofits Act, was sponsored by Representative Tim Walberg (MI-7) and passed this evening in a vote 246 to 177.
“The majority of the hotel industry is made up of small and independent properties who face serious challenges with implementing this rule which is raising the salary threshold too high and too fast. That’s why the action by the House today is so incredibly important and we applaud the passage of this commonsense legislation,” said Lugar. “Our industry is ripe with opportunity and has a tremendous track record of providing the training and resources our employees need to move up through the ranks to more senior positions. But this new overtime rule could cause unintended hardships on employers and employees by limiting the workforce flexibility and career advancement opportunities while creating increased confusion for trying to comply with the new requirements. We applaud the leadership of Congressman Tim Walberg for understanding businesses need more time to meet the new regulation’s terms and ensure that workforce flexibility continues, and urge the Senate to pass this common sense measure.”
The American Hotel & Lodging Association, along with over 40 partner state associations, sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi yesterday urging their support of this critical legislation that will provide employers with the much-needed additional time to comply with the steep changes of the overtime rule.