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Government Relations Updates

Greetings,

 

In the wake of yesterday's terrible events in Brussels GBTA has been approached by a number of media organizations to provide comment from a business travel perspective. While we know this is going out very close to the tragic attacks, our goal is to assess the more immediate impact of terror attacks with this poll and given the upcoming Easter holiday we did not want to put this off for too long. The plan is to have the poll open until Friday.

Here Is The Link To The Survey – it’s live and ready for your input. We would also ask, if possible, for you to share this link with your travel buyer colleagues. https://gbta.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_3V1HzlPsHTPdUod

 FUTURE STEPS: Yesterday afternoon, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the following steps DHS is taking to ensure travel remains safe:

  •          First, our personnel have an excellent working relationship with Belgian authorities, and we continually receive information about the attacks and those who may have been involved. Since the Paris attacks in November, we have enhanced information sharing about potential terrorist threats with both Belgian and French authorities, and we will continue this effort.
  •          Second, though we do not require Belgian citizens to have a visa to travel here for business or tourism purposes, both the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have procedures in place to identify and prevent travel here from Belgium by individuals of suspicion. All travelers arriving in the United States are vetted against the U.S. Terrorist Screening Database, regardless of whether they arrive with a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). We continually evaluate whether more screening is necessary, particularly in light of today’s attacks. 
  •          Third, as a precautionary measure, TSA is deploying additional security to major city airports in the United States, and at various rail and transit stations around the country. TSA is also working closely with state and local law enforcement, airport authorities, and the aviation industry in order to augment that security.
  •          Fourth, we and the FBI have been in communication today with state and local law enforcement, to share the latest about what we know of today’s attacks in Belgium. State and local law enforcement are themselves enhancing their security posture as they deem appropriate. We are also in regular communication with organizations representing the private sector to share with them what we know
  •          There are also a number of other security measures we are taking that are not suitable for public disclosure. 

 

Link to the full statement: http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/articles/dhs-secretary-comments-on-brussels-attacks-and-u-s-safety/article_c2d7cd1a-f078-11e5-8e84-a706826f28fb.html

UPDATES: The GBTA Blog is constantly being updated with breaking items on travel issues. GBTA Blog http://blog.gbta.org/2016/03/22/statement-information-on-brussels-attacks/ Chapters should consider adding this blog to the Chapter website

New priorities for April: The Brussels attack could also throw a wrench in the FAA reauthorization bill when it hits the Senate floor early next month. Sen. Chuck Schumer stated on Tuesday that Democrats would push legislation to “tighten security at airport perimeters - and to provide ample funding to do so - as part of a long-term reauthorization bill for the FAA." That would be a major addition to the aviation bill. This then leads to whether the House and the Senate will have time to hash out major changes in airport security during the diminishing number of working days during the remainder of this Congress. Expect this to be an issue Legislative Symposium attendees address.

A question of perimeter: And some lawmakers are skeptical of that approach. "It's a very hard issue to determine," said Rep. Peter DeFazio, the top Democrat on the House Transportation Committee. "I mean, how are you going to provide perimeter security - perimeter around the airport, you know, the secure area? ... Perimeter in terms of, we're going to stop every car a mile from the airport and keep the cars spaced more than a 100 feet apart when we stop them so that if one has a bomb in it, it won't kill other people? I just don't think that's going to happen," he said.

 

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