Editor’s note: The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) posted the following news release on its website articulating its lobbying efforts in the wake of the government’s sequestration, which went into effect March 1.
As you are likely aware, Congress did not act by March 1 to stop the “sequester” from occurring, triggering deep cuts across all federal programs. These $85 billion in automatic spending cuts were agreed to as part of the 2011 negotiation to raise the federal debt ceiling. Under the sequester, all government agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and other agencies that are vital to travel facilitation and outdoor recreation, are facing automatic spending cuts.
With airport security wait times projected to reach three hours for some in transit, scale-backs in our nation’s beloved parks, monuments and historic sites, and a general disruption in the travel process, there is the very real potential that travel will become the “face” of the cuts — the way that everyday Americans see the impact of sequestration. President Obama has addressed the consequences on travel, and federal agencies are identifying programs that will be affected — from TSA screening and Customs at airports to national parks.
With no political solution in sight, ARVC is working alongside the U.S. Travel Association and others on several fronts to develop a strategy to help end this man-made crisis. Our coalition is:
- Engaging media to voice the travel industry’s concerns;
- Communicating directly with Congressional offices to inform them of the deep impact the sequester will have on travelers and its ripple in the economy;
- Activating a grassroots mobile messaging campaign that easily bridges frustrated travelers with lawmakers; and
- Developing economic research to paint a picture of the realities stemming from these reductions.
Amplifying Travel’s Impact in the Media
- We are aggressively engaging with media outlets aimed at both policymakers and the public. Statements from the Travel Association on the sequester have already received widespread media coverage. The association is also considering select advertisements to highlight the impact of the sequester on travelers and to ask Congress to “Draw the Line” — travelers have waited long enough.
Informing Congressional Leaders on Both Sides of the Aisle
- We are communicating directly with Congressional offices, particularly those in districts where travel has a particularly strong economic effect, informing them of the deep impact the sequester will have on American travelers and its broader effect across the economy.
- Mobile messaging is a creative way to bridge frustrated travelers with lawmakers. Our Power of Travel Coalition is encouraging grassroots advocates to text “DELAYED” to 877-877 to receive a reply with information on how to contact Congress on the sequester.
Developing Research that Indicates the Sequester’s Economic Impact
- U.S. Travel’s economists are conducting research on the actual economic impact of the sequester, including trips that may be canceled due to the additional travel difficulties that the sequester will bring. We will share the results of that research with our members, Capitol Hill, the press and the public.
There is absolutely no excuse for travelers in one of the world’s most advanced nations to suffer through a travel process that wastes their precious time and resources. With the launch of the sequester cuts, we will call on travelers to rise up and make their voices heard. We continue to point out to Congress that travel is driving post-recession recovery by creating jobs faster than the rest of the economy and that these cuts could derail our recovery.
By no means do we intend to discourage travel. It’s time for Washington to solve problems rather than make travel delays worse. We will actively monitor and proactively seek to influence action on the sequester and other issues in ways that benefit our industry and promote economic growth.