WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA)’s Legislative Action Week, a virtual lobbying event for the business events industry, to be held June 6-10, will focus on three key priorities: the passage by the Senate of two bills, one for relief for small businesses and the other for the restoration of the Employee Retention Tax Credit; the return of communicable disease coverage as part of event cancellation insurance; and the easing of visa wait times for international business travelers.
The week-long Legislative Action Week will bring together advocates and leaders from across the business events industry to meet with their members of Congress, and is led by Tommy Goodwin, Head of Government Affairs at the ECA. “It has been remarkable to see how Capitol Hill has not only heard our message but is beginning to send our message back to us. That’s when you know they’ve really internalized it,” Goodwin said in the first of a series of videos ECA is creating in preparation for Legislative Action Week. “It all comes back to the work of so many people who have been part of the advocacy efforts of Go Live Together, Exhibitions Mean Business and ECA over the last couple of years. It’s really made a tremendous impact.”
This year, ECA advocates will focus on the Senate version of the Relief for Restaurants and other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act of 2022 (which was passed by the House of Representatives in April), known as the Small Business Covid Relief Act of 2022, which has earmarked $2 billion for the events industry. Also in play is the Employee Retention Tax Credit Restoration Act, introduced in the Senate in February, which provides for a reinstatement of the employee retention tax credit established to compensate employers whose businesses were hard hit by the pandemic for wages paid to employees.
The second area of focus at ECA’s Legislative Action Week will be pandemic insurance. “We need Congress to help restore communicable disease coverage for event cancellation insurance. Right now, you can’t get it,” David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA, President and CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events and Co-President of ECA (along with Herve Sedky, Emerald Holding Inc. President and CEO), said. “So we’ve got to figure this out, along with our coalition of more than a dozen groups that represent more than 70 million jobs in the U.S.”
The third advocacy issue will be easing the entry process into the U.S. “Visa processing is a big challenge,” DuBois said. “Fifteen to 20% of our attendees in 2019 were outside of the U.S., so can you imagine someone having to wait over 300 days just to get an interview?” Yet that’s what many people, including one of his own board members from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, are having to go through.
Check the ECA web site for a series of videos leading up to the launch of Legislative Action Day on June 6.
Reach Tommy Goodwin at (703) 672-0780 or firstname.lastname@example.org;
David DuBois at (972) 687-9204 or email@example.com