Capitol Hill’s Potential Stumbling Block for the Meetings Industry
By: Deborah Sexton, President & CEO
Professional Convention Management Association
As the year draws to a close, Congress is working to pass legislation that will revamp the operations of the U.S. Postal Service, but the bill carries consequences that will dramatically impact much more than how you receive mail. S. 1789, also known as the 21st Century Postal Reform Act, includes SA 2060, an amendment that would restrict federal agencies to attend only one conference sponsored by a private organization each year.
It’s no secret that the Postal Service has faced serious financial struggles. In fact, it just posted a record $15.9 billion loss in the 2012 fiscal year. However, fixing those problems should not require an unfair burden on our industry – - an industry that’s proven its value to the economy as a whole time and time again.
The Public-Private Conversation
We all recognize the value of inviting government employees to conferences throughout the year. From speaking on panels to attending educational sessions to having one-on-one conversations with association representatives, federal employees are an essential part of many face-to-face idea exchanges. Limiting their ability to learn and contribute to the dialogues at our members’ meetings is bad news for everyone involved.
GSA Continues to Cloud the Industry
The GSA scandal has made the meetings industry an unfair target for scrutiny from lawmakers that may not fully understand the costs of planning and executing meetings and the true value that those face-to-face gatherings bring for the economy as a whole. Earlier this year, we joined forces with our friends at ASAE to educate lawmakers on that value. Many of our members submitted letters to voice their concerns, and now, I’m hoping we can all make that voice even louder.
Stand Up Against SA 2060
It’s crucial that we don’t allow the poor performance of one organization to impact a healthy meetings industry. With the end of the year approaching, there are reports that Congress will aim to push this legislation through as quickly as possible. As you enjoy the Thanksgiving break, I hope you’ll join ASAE and me and write your Congressional representatives. Click here to use a convenient action alert from ASAE that lets you speak up loud and clear and send your thoughts directly to your state reps.