The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) today unveiled its Pro-Growth Policy Agenda for 2014, highlighting the key areas on which the U.S. lodging industry will focus its advocacy efforts.
From among the many areas that directly impact the operations and bottom lines of hotels across the country, AH&LA and its members will focus particular attention on:
• Reforming the country’s immigration system to ensure employers have access to a seasonal workforce when no American workers are available to fill jobs;
• Implementing targeted, much-needed changes to the Affordable Care Act, including changing the law’s current definition of a full-time employee from 30- to 40-hours per week and repealing the auto-enrollment mandate;
• Ensuring that any new federal tax proposals are pro-business and do not restrain the lodging industry’s ability to continue growing and creating jobs;
• Securing passage in the House of Representatives of the Jobs Originated Through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, to drive more foreign visitors to this country and to the front doors of hotels;
• Eliminating the growing threat posed by “patent trolls” and their predatory, abusive lawsuits; and
• Securing an extension of the important terrorism risk insurance (TRIA) program to provide an important backstop for economic continuity and recovery.
The lodging industry will also work closely with partners at the state and local level to beat back extreme living wage initiatives that are proven job killers, and advance policies to level the playing field between hotels and their online competitors on issues of tax parity.
“With 14 straight quarters of economic growth and 1.8 million employees, the U.S. lodging industry is strong and growing,” said Katherine Lugar, AH&LA president/CEO. “However, just as strong is the need to educate policymakers at every level of government that their actions have a direct bearing on the ability of hoteliers to continue this growth. Whether it is access to a strong, well-trained workforce, tax policies that enable hoteliers to operate on a level playing field with online competitors, or promoting responsible federal travel policies, Congress and the Administration have the power to either support or hinder the economic strength of the industry.
“For generations, lodging has given men and women in cities and towns across the country an environment to enter, grow, and build a long-lasting career, generating success through dedication and hard work. Our policy agenda provides them with an important tool to take to Washington and, with a unified voice, advocate for policies allowing for a continuation of this success and growth.”
Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee U.S. lodging industry, including hotel owners, REITs, chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, state hotel associations, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides focused advocacy, communications support, and educational resources for an industry generating $155.5 billion in annual sales from 4.9 million guestrooms.