Advocacy today is more critical than ever and we're taking you straight to the source at ASTA Legislative Day.
In 2019, we had 160 ASTA members from 34 states represent representing the industry and conducting over 150 Congressional meetings in just one day. Here are the issues we discussed in 2019…
- Industry Education: With so many new Members of Congress sworn in this year, we plan to put more emphasis this year on telling the story of our resilient and growing industry to the members of 116th Congress. Educating these lawmakers on your business is an important first step to ensuring our voices are heard on the issues that matter most.
- Bolstering Funding for TSA and Its Workforce: The Aviation Passenger Security Fee was created to pay for the costs of providing civil aviation security services to, but since 2013 Congress has been diverting over $1 billion per year of these fees to deficit reduction and away from aviation security services. The Funding for Aviation Screeners and Threat Elimination Restoration (FASTER) Act would eliminate this diversion of passenger security fees and give the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) access to revenue to ensure that airport screeners receive pay during any future government shutdown.
- Independent Contractor Harmonization: Today, there is a lot of confusion about whether workers should be classified as employees or independent contractors, with multiple agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor using different tests for making this determination. At Leg Day we’ll be supporting The Harmonization of Coverage Act, which adopts the IRS’ “right-of-control” test across the board. Given the growth in agency usage of independent advisors in our industry, getting clarity here will be critical.
Recap of 2018…
- Almost 150 meetings were conducted on Capitol Hill with Representative and Senators.
- Awareness was raised for legislation to harmonize federal “tests” to determine whether a worker should be a W-2 employee or an independent contractor.
- More than a dozen bipartisan members of Congress signed on to a letter to the Secretary of Labor asking for the removal of travel agencies from a regulatory “blacklist” preventing them for utilizing the Retail or Service Establishment exemption from federal overtime rules.
- Members generated congressional support for the removal of burdensome new consumer disclosures contained in the Senate version of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill.
- Thanks to their voices, ASTA was ultimately able to defeat these proposals that would have added to travel agencies’ existing disclosure burden and forced advisors to spend an additional 28 seconds making disclosures per air transaction, saving the industry $29.8 million per year in “talk time” and lost sales.