Preserve and Continue to Expand the Visa Waiver Program and Pass the JOLT Act (H.R. 1401)

  • The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows pre-screened, pre-approved travelers from participating countries to travel to the United States without obtaining a visa for business or leisure stays of up to 90 days. The 38 closely allied participating countries are required to maintain high security standards and share information with the U.S.

  • In 2014, more than 20.3 million visitors to the U.S.—60% of all overseas visitors—arrived through the VWP. These visitors generated $190 billion in total output for the U.S. economy, supported nearly one million American jobs, generated $13 billion in payroll and provided $10 billion in government tax revenues.

  • The Visa Waiver Program enhances U.S. security because:

  1. All VWP travelers are pre-screened through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before ever stepping onboard a flight to the U.S.

  2. VWP travelers to the U.S. are checked against multiple law enforcement and security databases before arrival.

  3. Participating countries are required to allow U.S. inspections of their security standards and protocols.

  4. VWP countries must promptly report data on all lost and stolen passports.

  5. Participating countries must also use biometric passports that conform to stringent international security standards.

  • For your Members of Congress: Members of the House of Representatives and Senate are encouraged to support policies that preserve and continue to expand the Visa Waiver Program. Members of the House are also encouraged to co-sponsor the JOLT Act (H.R. 1401), which will further improve and expand the VWP.

Air Travel Modernization: Keeping America Globally Connected and Competitive

  • In the next decade, air travel is forecasted to grow from 824 million enplanements per year to almost 950 million, which could add $253 billion in annual travel spending and support more than one million new American jobs. To seize this opportunity, we must address problems threatening future growth such as aging airport infrastructure, declining airline competition and an outdated air traffic control system.

  • Congress should give airport authorities the option to adjust user fees (called “passenger facility charges”) to a maximum of $8.50 per passenger. These funds could only be used to pay for projects that increase airport capacity; enhance airline competition; reduce congestion; strengthen safety/ security; or reduce airport noise. This forward looking measure modernizes airport infrastructure;  enhances airline competition and expands air service; reduces air traffic congestion; and improves the passenger experience. 

  • Provide a more stable funding source for air traffic control operations, protect NextGen technology from sequestration and target NextGen deployment to the most congested regions of the country.

  • For your Member of Congress: Members of the House of Representatives and Senate are encouraged to support policies in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization that will give airport authorities the ability to raise the cap on the passenger facility charge to a maximum of $8.50. Stable funding should also be given to NextGen air traffic control, so the program can be introduced more rapidly in target markets.

Promote the Congressional Travel & Tourism Caucus

  • Travel & Tourism Caucuses exist in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The caucuses are made up of Members of Congress who recognize the economic importance of travel and tourism within their communities and the vital need for a collective voice in Congress to support the policy initiatives of our multi-faceted industry. 
  • The economic benefit of travel and tourism extends to all 50 states and every congressional district. In fact, travel and tourism ranks in the top 10 industries in 49 states and Washington, D.C.
  • For your Member of Congress: Encourage members of Congress to join their respective Travel & Tourism Caucus. Senators should contact the offices of Roy Blunt (R-MO) or Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Representatives should contact the offices of Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) or Sam Farr (D-CA).

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