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Navigating the Transition of Power

Navigating the Transition of Power

As we step into a new year and a new political dynamic here in Washington, AHLA and the hotel industry are looking forward to President-elect Donald Trump’s first 100 days, and we plan on working closely with his Administration and the new Congress to promote our industry and our issues.

And what a dynamic industry we have: Hospitality is a bipartisan industry that powers the economy, supporting 8 million jobs around the country and contributing nearly $600 billion to the U.S. GDP. Our focus in the coming days and months will be to promote policies that boost the economy, support entrepreneurship and business growth, and promote travel and tourism across the United States to ensure we preserve the ability for our industry and our employees to grow and prosper.

Though the transition has been ongoing since the immediate days following the election, all eyes turn toward President-elect Trump’s first 100 days following his inauguration on Jan. 20, typically seen as a key phase for a new Administration to lay out its core policies and follow through on key campaign promises. Nomination hearings for prominent Cabinet posts are well underway, and a list of policy priorities are being solidified. To prepare, AHLA has already begun the process of engaging with key members of the President-elect’s transition team and his new Administration—with this outreach ongoing—to ensure that we are fostering long-term relationships with these leaders and educating them on our industry’s perspective. The time is now for these efforts, as the new Administration and Congress are actively formalizing the legislative and regulatory agenda for next year.

With Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, it is anticipated that Congress will take up legislation to serve as a vehicle for an Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal in the first days of the incoming Administration. This was a major theme of the 2016 campaign and an issue the new Administration is very focused on addressing quickly. Congressional repeal efforts are expected to echo the framework established by the GOP in its 2015 actions to repeal the ACA. The measure will likely include elements such as a sunset for ACA subsidies and Medicaid expansion, repeal of a number of ACA taxes (including the individual and employer mandates), and maintaining the ACA’s Medicare budget savings, using the funds to shore up the program’s trust fund.

The incoming Administration and GOP leadership in both chambers have also called for comprehensive tax reform, and efforts are expected to build off the House Republican’s “Better Way” framework, which was largely incorporated into President-elect Trump’s tax plan and would likely serve as the jumping-off point for any legislation. The blueprint includes lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and switching corporate taxation from a worldwide system to a territorial system, while also establishing three individual income tax brackets: 12 percent, 25 percent, and 33 percent.

Of course, immigration was the linchpin of Trump’s campaign, and it is expected that his Administration and the Republican-led Congress will take swift action to bolster enforcement efforts, curtail the admittance of refugees, and reverse course on the Obama Administration’s immigration policy. There is a possibility that President Trump’s plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border will be incorporated in a broader “national security” package.

Finally, President Trump has expressed a commitment to invest $1 trillion in an “America’s Infrastructure First” plan to support investment in transportation, clean water, a modernized electric grid, telecommunications, and security infrastructure. A comprehensive infrastructure proposal presents the opportunity for bipartisan collaboration, as incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has named infrastructure among his key priorities for the 115th Congress.

As we look ahead, AHLA is committed to engaging with the new Administration and new Congress—working with elected leaders on both sides of the aisle—particularly as we launch our Dreams Happen Here campaign, which underscores the strength of our industry and the power we contribute to the national economy. As hoteliers across the country continue creating good jobs with career advancement opportunities, we have no doubt our industry will remain at the forefront of driving growth in every Congressional district around the country. We hope and believe that the new Administration and Congress will support these efforts.

About the Author
Vanessa Sinders is SVP and department head of government affairs for the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

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