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February 13, 2015

GBTA: How the Department of Homeland Security Funding Fight Can Hurt Business Travel

U.S. Senate and House Republicans are continuing to argue about how to fund the Department of Homeland Security—which, in turn, affects how many transportation-related operations will be run going forward. Last week, a Department of Homeland Security funding bill failed to pass a procedural vote, and Michael W. McCormick, executive director and COO of the Global Business Travel Association, released a statement criticizing the failure:

“The Global Business Travel Association is concerned that today’s vote failing to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security could have serious, unintended consequences for business travel, an industry that is expected to account for $310.2 billion in spending during 2015. We call on Congress to work together to fund DHS, which supports the movement of people, goods and services throughout our transportation system.

"Absent a full year funding bill, business travel can easily be disrupted, causing an immediate impact on our economy. For every one percent decrease in business travel spending, the U.S. economy loses an additional 71,000 jobs, nearly $5 billion in GDP, $3 billion in wages and $1.2 billion in tax collections.”

Talking to International Meetings Review, McCormick noted that these disruptions can easily cause a government shutdown like the United States faced in 2013. “Travel, and especially business travel, is being used as a bargaining chip for leverage in a bigger fight,” McCormick said. “And the unfortunate thing is that I don’t think that everyone clearly understands the consequences of the fight over immigration and how it could really paralyze business travel and the economy here in the States if we have another shutdown.” 

McCormick also noted that the 2013 shutdown had a “serious impact” on both the U.S. economy and its reputation as a place to do business. “We’re coming up on another fight where the issue at hand is immigration, but because it affects DHS and because it affects funding, that affects Homeland Security and affects the TSA and their funding and our ability to keep business travel moving,” he explained. “It did happen before, and it could happen again. And you see the passion around the issues related to immigration, and you can see where we could be headed for another game of one-upmanship here. And it’s very concerning to us, and that’s why we’re sounding the alarm.”

If funding cannot be approved, he continued, essential services will not be provided, trips will be canceled, business will not be conducted “and very real dollars lost...with a real impact on our economy.” Canceled business trips are frequently not rescheduled, he continued, and once business revenue is lost, it’s gone forever. “And it’s all needless,” McCormick added. “The immigration fight needs to continue, but not at the cost of hurting the economy.”  

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About the Author: Jena Tesse Fox

Jena Tesse Fox





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