Published on : Thursday, November 14, 2013
The U.S. Travel Association announced Wednesday that the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, H.R. 1354, has surpassed 100 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, split almost exactly between the two major political parties.
“As America’s No. 1 services export, inbound travel’s economic benefits are abundantly clear, and the strong support for the JOLT Act on both sides of the aisle reflects that,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “JOLT contains a range of common-sense provisions that will make travel to the United States a better and easier experience, which in turn will immediately benefit the economy and job growth.”
Introduced and championed by Reps. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), the JOLT Act is stand-alone legislation that would support the U.S. economy and create jobs by enacting similar pro-travel provisions passed in the Senate immigration bill. U.S. Travel has been working closely with backers in the House to extol the benefits of its provisions and garner support from both parties. Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) is officially recorded as the bill’s landmark 100th co-sponsor.
“Today’s achievement shows how much broad support there is for creating jobs and boosting the economy through increasing travel,” Rep. Heck said. “The JOLT Act will bring economic growth to every region and district around the country while maintaining our national security. I look forward to working with Congressman Quigley and all of the cosponsors as we build upon this coalition of support and continue to push for the JOLT Act to be brought to the House floor for a vote.”
Said Quigley: “At 100 co-sponsors strong, the JOLT Act’s bipartisan support continues to grow and highlights the importance of updating America’s visa travel protocol. Modernizing outdated policies will increase opportunities for international tourists, create jobs and drive valuable tourism dollars to cities across the country.”
Key provisions of the JOLT Act would:
Expand the highly successful Visa Waiver Program (VWP) that enables international travelers from approved countries to enter the U.S. without a visa;
Expand the Global Entry program that expedites entry for preapproved, low-risk international travelers;
Mandate expedited visa processing and reduced visa wait times for travelers who wish to visit the U.S.;
Facilitate the use of secure videoconferencing to conduct visa interviews by authorizing a pilot program to test feasibility, which would provide increased access to a U.S. visa for potential travelers; and
Encourage more travel from Canada.
In 2012, international visitors added nearly $130 billion to the U.S. economy and generated more than $19 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue. If extended to Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Israel, Panama, Poland, Romania and Uruguay, the VWP alone could increase international visitation by more than 600,000, add more than $7 billion to the U.S. economy and support more than 40,000 additional American jobs.
“It’s a tremendous milestone to reach 100 co-sponsors and counting, but the number we’re really focused on is 218,” said Dow. “We’re confident the overwhelming bipartisan support for the JOLT Act will convince House leaders to move this legislation swiftly through the committee process and onto the floor.”
Source:- U.S. Travel Association
Tags: Association News