Heck Highlights Importance of Travel, Tourism to Boosting Economy in Southern Nevada
Introduces bipartisan, bicameral JOLT Act to increase international tourism to U.S.
WASHINGTON - To further highlight the importance of travel and tourism to the economy of southern Nevada, Rep. Joe Heck (NV-03) today testified at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on H.R. 3039, the Welcoming Business Travelers and Tourists to America Act, which he introduced in September of 2011. The bill, which boasts 40 bipartisan cosponsors, would generate as much as $859 billion in economic output by improving the State Department’s tourist visa system while maintaining national security standards. Between 2000 and 2010, the global long-haul travel market grew by 40 percent yet the U.S. share of the market has fallen from 17 to 12 percent during that time due to the outdated, inefficient tourist visa application process. Rep. Heck's bill would allow for the United States to regain the share of international travel lost over the past ten years and would create 1 million jobs at no cost to taxpayers.
To see a video of Rep. Heck's opening statement at the hearing, click the image below.
“It goes without saying that America is struggling and something needs to be done to get folks back to work. I represent a district that is extremely reliant on the travel and tourism industry, and so I introduced H.R. 3039, the Welcoming Business Travelers and Tourists to America Act.” – Rep. Joe Heck testimony before House Judiciary Committee.
To read Rep. Heck's opening statement at the Judiciary hearing, click here.
Additionally, Rep. Heck this week introduced H.R. 5741, the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, a bipartisan and bicameral effort to create jobs by reforming outdated visa laws and processing standards, while maintaining national security. A key provision of the JOLT Act, which is consistent with Rep. Heck's travel and tourism priorities, states that upon enactment, 80 percent of all visa interviews should be conducted within 15 business days of requesting an appointment. There are exceptions to these processing time goals for security reasons and for national emergencies. With a statutory commitment to faster visa processing worldwide, a climate of certainty will be created for future personal and business travelers, thus ensuring increased and sustained demand for travel to the United States.
Also, section I of H.R. 5741 requires the Secretary of State to develop a pilot program for “premium processing” of travel visas. Under premium processing, a traveler’s application for a visa will be reviewed and processed on an expedited basis unless compelling security concerns exist.
Rep. Heck was joined by Reps. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) in introducing the House JOLT Act, while Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced the bill in the Senate.
For a summary of the JOLT Act, click here.
** UPDATE - The United States Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the JOLT Act and is urging Members of the House of Representatives co-sponsor it. To read their letter of support, click here.