“One out of every nine jobs in the U.S. depends on travel and tourism,” and those jobs are being put in jeopardy by soaring gas prices that are “already closing in on last year’s high,” the House Natural Resources Committee heard today. Continuing House Republicans’ effort to address rising gas prices via the American Energy Initiative and the Plan for America’s Job Creators, the committee held a hearing to examine the impact high gas prices are having on family vacations and U.S. tourism industry jobs. Here are some of the highlights.
- Sam Gilliland, Chairman and CEO of a travel technology company and member of the Energy Security Leadership Council, told the committee that the travel and tourism industry supported a total of 14 million American jobs last year. However, Gilliland warned that “volatile fuel prices within the transportation sector send a shock” to the travel and tourism industry and “high energy prices increase industry-wide operating costs and reduce revenue and jobs.” To increase the energy security of the industry, and U.S. economy as a whole, Gilliland says “we need to look at ways to expand domestic energy production,” and “should produce more oil domestically over the long term, particularly by leveraging federal lands currently unavailable to the industry.” (Testimony, 3/27/12)
- Victor S. Parra, President & CEO of the United Motorcoach Association, said the “modern motorcoach industry is … an economic powerhouse for jobs, tourism and tax revenue” and that affordable energy is an “absolute necessity” for the industry. As Prarra put it, “fuel must be available in dependable and affordable supplies to avoid trip cancellations or offerings, reductions in employment and loss of capital investment.” Parra also warned that “policies averse to meeting the demands of a mobile society serve to negatively impact investment, employment and deny the confidence required to grow travel and tourism,” and said “we must focus on short and long-term strategies that insure availability and affordability of the fossil fuel our nation needs for the decades to come.” (Testimony, 3/27/12)
As part of the American Energy Initiative, House Republicans have passed several bills to unlock resources put off limits by the Obama administration to help address soaring gas prices and create jobs. That effort will continue tomorrow in the Energy & Commerce Committee with a hearing on:
- The Gasoline Regulations Act, legislation that requires, for the first time, cumulative analyses of the effect of current and proposed government regulations that threaten to drive up gas prices and halts three costly new Obama administration energy regulations; and
- The Strategic Energy Production Act, legislation ensuring the Obama administration does not tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve without taking steps to increase American energy production.
President Obama says he is for Republicans’ “all-of-the-above” energy policy, but the gap between his rhetoric and record is making gas prices worse. To close that gap, the president should call on Senate Democrats to pass the nearly 30 bipartisan, House-passed jobs and energy bills they continue blocking as gas prices soar. Learn more and follow the progress of these bills on the Republican Plan for America’s Job Creators website, and don’t forget to “like” the American Energy Initiative on Facebook.