Courier July Courier - Page 12

BUSINESS RELATING TO GOVERNMENT INSIGHTS ON U.S. LEGISLATIVE ISSUES AND INDUSTRY TOPICS Dissecting President Trump’s proposed budget ON MAY 23, President Trump released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2018, kicking off the funding debate in Washington, D.C. Congress must complete funding legislation by Sept. 30, 2017, and with several high-priority items still on the legislative schedule for Congress, FY18 appropriations only add to the uncertainty. Signal Group, NTA’s legislative advisors, answered Courier’s questions about the administration’s proposed budget, the congressional appropriations process and the current environment within the Beltway. Courier: What are the highlights of the president’s proposed budget? Signal Group: It reduces federal spending by $3.6 trillion over 10 years, with significant cuts across the board to domestic, non-defense programs. The administration contends that a combination of aggressive cuts and three percent annual economic growth would balance the budget by 2027. President Trump’s request outlines a $4.1 trillion budget for FY18, with $1.15 trillion of that directed to discretionary spending. The significant differences between White House and congressional spending priorities are likely to pose a challenge for reaching agreement on FY18 spending levels. This is compounded by the fact that the administration’s budget violates the caps established by the Budget Control Act of 2011. This likely will require Congress to address fundamental issues related to the balance between defense and nondefense spending, as well as the scheduled return of sequestration, a law that limits the size of the federal budget. Courier: How does this budget address priorities of the travel and tourism industry? Signal Group: For the industry, it’s important to focus on the proposed budget levels for the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as they each regulate different modes of travel and security. Under President Trump’s proposed budget, both the DOT and FAA take significant cuts. The proposed budget aims to create a more streamlined DOT; it’s unlikely, however, that the 16 percent cut proposed by the president will be implemented by Congress. Travel and tourism caucus leaders in the House and Senate are ready to fight for programs that have helped bring more positive experiences to tourists. With regard to Department of Homeland Security agencies, which include CBP, the president proposed an increase of almost $3 billion, including $100 million for additional staffing. Ironically, the TSA could face cuts. The number of Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams, which patrol public areas of airports beyond security checkpoints, along with bus and train stations, would drop from 31 to eight. Additionally, the budget proposes an Aviation Passenger Security Fee increase from $5.60 to $6.60 for each connecting flight, which would generate about $530 million more for aviation security. Construction and other non-personnel items are also proposed to be cut. Courier: What about Brand USA? Signal Group: The president also proposes to eliminate Brand USA, which promotes the country overseas as a tourist destination, and shift its revenue to CBP. This proposal has not been well received on Capitol Hill and within the industry. Many lawmakers and trade groups, including NTA, have already declared opposition to this part of the proposal. Keep in mind that while President Trump’s proposed cuts can have a significant impact on the industry, this is just one part of the process, and Congress can accept or reject any portion of the proposed budget. Courier: Will Congress support our industry? Signal Group: The travel and tourism industry has broad support on Capitol Hill. Travel and tourism caucus leaders in the House and Senate are ready to fight for programs that have helped bring more positive experiences to tourists, both international and domestic. Remember: Travel and tourism is America’s biggest export industry, and members of Congress don’t want to hurt a large part of our economy. Brand USA has played a significant role in the industry’s success, and eliminating it would not be well received. Courier: What does the proposed budget reveal about the administration’s plans for infrastructure? Signal Group: An interesting piece of the administration’s proposed budget was the inclusion of an “infrastructure initiative” fact sheet. The administration has stated intentions to invest $200 billion of federal spending in infrastructure in the hopes of leveraging $800 billion in private investment. However, the proposed budget first cuts a number 10 July 2017 BUSINESS RELATING TO GOVERNMENT INSIGHTS ON U.S. LEGISLATIVE ISSUES AND INDUSTRY TOPICS Dissecting President Trump’s proposed budget ON MAY 23, President Trump released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2018, kicking off the funding debate in Washington, D.C. Congress must complete funding legislation by Sept. 30, 2017, and with several high-priority items still on the legislative schedule for Congress, FY18 appropriations only add to the uncertainty. Signal Group, NTA’s legislative advi- sors, answered Courier’s questions about the administration’s proposed bud- get, the congressional appropriations process and the current environment within the Beltway. Signal Group: For the industry, it’s important to focus on the proposed budget levels for the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as they each regulate different modes of travel and security. Under President Trump’s proposed budget, both the DOT and FAA take sig- nificant cuts. The proposed budget aims to create a more streamlined DOT; it’s unlikely, however, that the 16 percent cut proposed by the president will be implemented by Congress. Courier: What are the highlights of the president’s proposed budget? Signal Group: It reduces federal spend- ing by $3.6 trillion over 10 years, with significant cuts across the board to domestic, non-defense programs. The administration contends that a com- bination of aggressive cuts and three percent annual economic growth would balance the budget by 2027. President Trump’s request outlines a $4.1 trillion budget for FY18, with $1.15 trillion of that directed to discretionary spending. The significant differences between White House and congres- sional spending priorities are likely to pose a challenge for reaching agreement on FY18 spending levels. This is com- pounded by the fact that the admin- istration’s budget violates the caps established by the Budget Control Act of 2011. This likely will require Congress to address fundamental issues related to the balance between defense and non- defense spending, as well as the sched- uled return of sequestration, a law that limits the size of the federal budget. Travel and tourism caucus leaders in the House and Senate are ready to fight for programs that have helped bring more positive experiences to tourists. Courier: How does this budget address pri- orities of the travel and tourism industry? 10 July 2017 With regard to Department of Homeland Security agencies, which include CBP, the president proposed an increase of almost $3 billion, includ- ing $100 million for additional staffing. Ironically, the TSA could face cuts. The number of Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams, which patrol pub- lic areas of airports beyond security checkpoints, along with bus and train stations, would drop from 31 to eight. Additionally, the budget proposes an Aviation Passenger Security Fee increase from $5.60 to $6.60 for each connect- ing flight, which would generate about $530 million more for aviation security. Construction and other non-personnel items are also proposed to be cut. Courier: What about Brand USA? Signal Group: The president also proposes to eliminate Brand USA, which promotes the country overseas as a tourist destina- tion, and shift its revenue to CBP. 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