HB ON THE SCENE: AHLA, AAHOA Members Lobby on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON—Today’s the day AHLA and AAHOA members charge Capitol Hill to lobby on behalf of the lodging industry. Topics they’ll be discussing with lawmakers include commercial short-term rentals, tax reform, online booking scams and ADA drive-by lawsuits. This morning’s session at the 2017 Legislative Action Summit (LAS) continued yesterday’s efforts to energize hoteliers before meeting with members of Congress.

More than 500 hoteliers today from across the country will be meeting with 300 members of Congress to lobby the industry’s concerns revolving around three overarching priorities: creating jobs, serving guests and supporting communities.

Before joining hoteliers on Capitol Hill, Bhavesh Patel, chairman of AAHOA, briefly addressed attendees this morning about the importance of pushing for the advancement of entrepreneurship, the growth of economic development and the need for a pro-business, regulatory environment.

Following Patel’s remarks, Mark Carrier, chairman of AHLA, spoke about the positive change AHLA and AAHOA members have been making for the industry as a whole. “Together, we’re having a profound impact,” he said. He reiterated the significance of telling the stories of everyday people in the industry to lawmakers and reminded attendees not to assume federal legislators know about lodging and hospitality.

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U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) addressed today’s political climate, criticizing Republican leadership with regard to to its handling of legislative priorities. “Tax reform and infrastructure probably would’ve been a big win,” said Heller, who said he would’ve waited to take on healthcare (a controversial topic). 

For him, “The current tax code is too complex, too costly and too burdensome.” He briefly touched upon President Trump’s corporate tax rate proposal of 15%, pointing out some flaws regarding deductions. Congress needs to find the “sweet spot,” he admitted to hoteliers.  

As far as infrastructure, “I think my driver hit every pothole coming here,” joked Heller, who’s in favor of the president’s one trillion dollar infrastructure investment plan. Having the right infrastructure in place is “necessary to conduct commerce and trade,” he said, adding that solid infrastructure is also important for general transportation. 

He concluded his speech on air travel. “Air travel is essential,” he said. With regard to this topic, and travel in general, he spoke out against travel bans—and he has been concerned about the president’s talks about them. “These travel bans, I think, send the wrong message as we try to move this industry forward,” he said.