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Sequester To Cause Flight Delays And Long Lines For Travelers
By Jim Douglas

February 22, 2013 - Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, issued strong remarks on the potential impact of looming federal budget cuts on the travel process. 

He also addressed ensuing economic losses when business and leisure travelers choose to avoid flights due to delays and extremely long security lines.

Dow’s comments follow dire travel predictions by President Obama and a report from Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee. 


“Travel has the very real potential of becoming the face of the March 1 sequester cuts. These across-the-board cuts may punish travelers with flight delays, long security lines at Transportation Security Agency checkpoints and multi-hour waits to clear Customs and Border Protection. Travel has led the nation’s economic recovery generating more than 50 percent of all jobs created since the beginning of the recession. The indiscriminate sequester cuts threaten to derail the travel-led recovery". 

Sequestration is a key piece of the legislation that created the United States fiscal cliff. In 2011, sequestration was used in the Budget Control Act of 2011 as a tool in federal budget control. This 2011 act authorized an increase in the debt ceiling in exchange for $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction over the following ten years. 

This total included $1.2 trillion in spending cuts identified specifically in the legislation, with an additional $1.2 trillion in cuts that were to be determined by a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives known as the "Super Committee" or officially as the United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. The Super Committee failed to reach an agreement. In that event, a trigger mechanism in the bill was activated to implement drastic across-the-board spending reductions known as "sequestration". 

On January 31, 2013, the Senate approved and the House passed debt limit bill (H.R. 325) known as No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013 in a 64-to-34 vote. The legislation extends the current borrowing cap of $16.4 trillion through at least May 18, 2013. If Congress cannot agree on an alternative deficit reduction plan, the cuts go into effect March 1.



“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. U.S. Travel will assist travelers in their efforts to send a strong message to Congress with a new mobile messaging campaign. When travelers text the word “DELAYED” to 877-877, they will receive easy instructions on how to share their opinions with Washington legislators. 

“It is time for Washington to solve problems rather than create potentially devastating new crises. The 14.4 million Americans whose jobs depend on travel, the two million Americans who fly each day and the millions more who take to the roads and rails to drive the American economy are counting on our elected officials to deliver results that keep our nation competitive and attractive to travelers around the globe. We strongly urge Congress to take immediate action on the impending federal budget cuts.” 

President Obama “Automatic Budget Cuts Will Hurt Economy, Slow Recovery, and Put People Out of Work”. The President called on Congress to find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that combines tax reform with additional spending reforms an approach that doesn’t harm our economy or the middle class. 

“This is not an abstraction," President Obama said. “There are people whose livelihoods are at stake. There are communities that are going to be impacted in a negative way. And I know that sometimes all this squabbling in Washington seems very abstract, and in the abstract, people like the idea, there must be some spending we can cut, there must be some waste out there. There absolutely is. But this isn’t the right way to do it.”
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