Legislative News

 For all the news hounds and politicos..... Here's recent news affecting the Business Traveler.  Take particular note to the TSA's Fee Hike, the second story.  I guess they feel like they can name their own fee now.  And here I thought that all revenue bills must start in the House of Representatives.  Guess the TSA like some of the other departments doesn't feel that law applies to them. 

STATEMENT FROM U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY PENNY PRITZKER ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S EXECUTIVE ACTIONS TO WELCOME MORE INTERNATIONAL VISITORS: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker issued a statement today on the announcement that President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum to help welcome more international visitors to the United States, which spurs the economy. With this memorandum, Secretary Pritzker and  Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will lead an interagency team over the next four months to improve the entry process and reduce wait times for international travelers to the United States.

 “In the hospitality business, first impressions matter a great deal,” said Secretary Pritzker. “That is why we must ensure that tourists and business travelers have a positive and welcoming experience when they land at our ports of entry. After all, international travelers spend an average of $4,500 per visit here, and support 1.3 million jobs. We are joining forces today with the private sector to ensure that we send a genuine ‘Welcome to America’ message at every stage of the arrivals process. That message will attract more international visitors—and generate more jobs and prosperity here at home.

PRE ROUNDTABLE: On Tuesday, Mike McCormick joined 15 industry and Administration officials, and key members of Congress, in a Congressional roundtable on the Pre✓ program. The discussion focused on how to balance security and efficiency, while increasing public participation. Roger stressed the willingness of the private sector to work with TSA to help market the program. Earlier that day, TSA opened the first-ever joint application center, for both Pre✓ and Global Entry, at Pittsburgh International Airport.

TSA'S FEE HIKE ANGERS BUDGET DEAL ARCHITECTS: "The TSA appears ready to implement a fee hike included in December's year-end budget deal in a way that could end up costing air passengers $20 or more per trip, drawing fire from the deal's architects. ... The agreement hiked the security fee that passengers pay per trip from $2.50 to $5.60, but the TSA is also proposing to eliminate a long-standing $10 cap on round-trip fees. TSA is also planning to define trips that include 'stopovers' - breaks in travel of more than four hours - as separate flights. Taken together, the changes could result in passengers with particularly complicated itineraries paying $20 or even $30 worth of fees for a round-trip flight. Speaker Boehner, and Budget Deal brokers Rep Ryan and Sen. Murray have weighed in against the hike.  

DOT RAMPS UP AIRLINE TICKET ADVERTISING RULES: The DOT put out a new proposal yesterday that would call on airlines and ticket-sellers to disclose certain fees like for checked baggage or seat assignments. The rule would also clarify who exactly a "ticket seller" is to include sites like Kayak, and calls on smaller carriers like Spirit Airlines to report data like lost baggage or on-time performance. The changes follow previous moves by DOT, in 2009 and 2011, designed to protect airline ticket buyers from what some see as misleading pricing or advertising. A notice of proposed rulemaking appears in Friday's Federal Register (http://1.usa.gov/1h8lFMW); comments will be accepted for 90 days after that. GBTA Statement: Transparency And Transactability Are Primary Concerns; GBTA Will Review And Comment On Ruling  Alexandria, VA (May 21, 2014) – Today the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed new consumer protections for air travelers, building on previous passenger protection rules issued in December 2009 and April 2011. Today’s proposal would require airlines and ticket agents to disclose at all points of sale the fees for certain basic ancillary services associated with the air transportation consumers are buying or considering buying. It would also codify the Department’s definition of a “ticket agent” to ensure that companies that offer flight search tools and receive a form of compensation are adhering to the Department’s consumer protection requirements. GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick issued the following statement: “GBTA will carefully review and comment in greater detail on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), however we maintain support for the free-market right of businesses to create and follow their own chosen business models, including charging ancillary fees. But travel buyers and their agents must be presented with an accurate view of the full cost of products. To that end, it is imperative that there is full transparency to buyers on fares and fees. This also applies to booking, ticketing, billing and fulfilling those services.”

U.S. Department of Transportation Issues Action on IATA NDC (Resolution 787):DOT issued today an order that tentatively finds that approval of IATA Resolution 787 would be in the public interest and directs interested parties to show cause why the Department should not approve the resolution.   GBTA Statement: GBTA Remains Concerned About Unintended Consequences; Managed Travel Programs Still At Risk “GBTA respects the decision of the Department of Transportation and believes the DOT announcement recognizes the complex relationship between the need for modern standards versus the need for consumer protection. Corporations spent more than $1.12 trillion USD on business travel last year. Although the focus of this ruling is on the impact on multiple industry stakeholders, it is the requirements of the corporation who ultimately pays the bill that must be met.”http://www.gbta.org/PressReleases/Pages/rls_052114-1.aspx?Source=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gbta.org%2Flists%2Fnews%2FAllitems_all.aspx