Legislative Action Day 2024: Let’s Tell Congress to Finish the Job

March 27, 2024

Tommy Goodwin

Tommy Goodwin is Vice President for the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA), an association dedicated to the advancement of the business events industry. He leads ECA’s advocacy and member engagement work on behalf of the interconnected ecosystem of exhibitors, show and event organizers, suppliers, venues and destinations that comprise the global business events landscape.

Last June, nearly 100 business events industry leaders and advocates went to Capitol Hill to ask their members of Congress to do three important things: 

  • Encourage the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to finish its proposed anti-scammer rule
  • Advance legislation to help our industry train the next generation workforce
  • Introduce legislation to help bring down visa wait times.

So, what has happened since then?

In February, the FTC finalized its Government and Business Impersonation Rule, which takes effect on April 1 and will go after scammers who impersonate businesses in our industry. 

In December, the House Education & Workforce Committee advanced bipartisan legislation that would let federal PellGrants fund high-quality, short-term job training programs for the first time.

Last week, Congress approved $50 million to help with visa delays. In addition, three bills have been introduced in Congress to help further bring down visa wait times at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. 

While this is great progress, more still needs to be done. That’s why it’s time for the industry to go back to Capitol Hill and tell Congress to finish the job.

On Thurs., May 30, the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) will hold its annual Legislative Action Day in Washington, DC. This one-of-a-kind opportunity brings industry leaders from across the country and around the world to meet with policymakers on Capitol Hill about the issues that matter to our industry. 

This year, we will ask Congress to take further action on our workforce and visa policy priorities so that they can be signed into law by the end of the year. 

On the workforce front, our industry needs help from Congress to expand the pool of Americans with the skills and training necessary to have great careers while growing the economy. 

How? Passing the previously mentioned Pell Grant bill, as well as additional legislation that would let Americans use their 529 savings plans to pay for workforce training and credentialing programs. 

With regard to visa delays, Congress should ensure that key aspects of ECA-supported visa bills are passed to help restore visa operations to pre-pandemic levels while modernizing the system. This will help our industry bring back all international exhibitors and attendees to conferences and trade shows in the United States while ensuring that such long delays never happen again. 

Despite the political gridlock in Washington, DC, I believe that the industry’s collective advocacy can help get these priorities passed and signed into law by the end of 2024.

While we are expecting a record crowd this year on Capitol Hill, we still need your voice to help us tell Congress to finish the job! Register here for free today.


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