American Hotel & Lodging Association Issues Statement on President Obama’s State of the Union Address

American Hotel & Lodging Association Issues Statement on President Obama’s State of the Union Address

(January 21, 2015) The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee lodging industry, today issued this statement following President Obama’s State of the Union address:

“Tonight, by hailing an economic recovery in the works and speaking to the power of the American Dream, President Obama presented an optimistic future for our great nation – a future that can be seen in the hotel industry. With four straight years of consecutive growth and job creation, the hotel industry is responsible for strengthening communities and providing a solid path to promotion for those who have chosen lodging as a career seeking to climb the ladder of success, with good pay and benefits.

“Despite the optimism, there are still many challenges ahead, and this evening, the President addressed some of the policy areas that most impact our industry. The President Obama addressed many issues, including healthcare. We applaud Congress for taking steps to fix parts of the Affordable Care Act, most notably the existing definition of a full-time employee. We urge the President to carefully consider – and sign – legislation to restore the 40-hour work week once passed by Congress. The President also acknowledged that immigration is a passionate and emotional issue, and expressed that the system needs to be fixed. We strongly encourage President Obama and Congress to find bipartisan, permanent reforms. Providing employers an efficient system to verify and hire workers and creating a process to address those undocumented workers already in the country are just a few of the policies that would enable hotels to solidify their business models, better address their current workforce needs and plan for the future.

“Innovations in technology are enormously beneficial to the hotel industry and to every sector of the economy, except when the good is used to do harm. We value the trust our guests give us to not only keep them safe physically, but to protect the data they provide. Both tonight and previously, the President outlined his approach to tackle cyber security and data security issues. In order for these efforts to be successful, the President and Congress must work hand-in-hand to find bipartisan solutions that will not only address this critical issue, but can also anticipate future needs and risk.

“The President also spoke about the need to reform the tax code. Business owners in this country crave clarity, and we are looking for Congress and the Administration to come together to create a tax code that maintains America’s competitiveness and fosters economic growth.

“With the start of a new Congress, the next year holds enormous potential for bipartisan solutions that will help bolster the economy and continue to allow industries such as the hotel sector to invest in communities and create jobs. We look forward to working with the White House, the Obama Administration and Congress to find ways to work together towards advancing our common goals,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.