Indian American hoteliers push their agenda on Capitol Hill

Indian American hotel owners descended on Capitol HilL March 11-14, 2024, to push for their agenda to be included in national policy. PHOTO: Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA)

WASHINGTON, D.C., Mar. 14 – This week, starting March 11, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), as part of its 2024 Spring National Advocacy Conference (SNAC), hosted more than 200 key AAHOA leaders and members for two days in Washington, D.C. The Conference opened with a legislative learning session at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, followed by an evening Congressional Reception at the Cannon House Office Building, and then a full day of Congressional meetings.

The organization, which consists mostly of Indian-origin hoteliers, wrapped up SNAC with an active day on Capitol Hill, where AAHOA leaders participated in nearly 160 in-person Congressional meetings with U.S. Senators, Representatives, and their staff, across all party lines, a March 14 press release from the organization said.

Close to 30 key Members of Congress attended AAHO’s  Congressional Reception. Each offered their comments and insights regarding the important role AAHOA and its members have in shaping the agenda of national policies and leading the industry in ensuring the voices of hoteliers are being heard.

Elected officials also spoke one-on-one with their AAHOA Member constituents to build and strengthen their relationships for ongoing and future impact, the press release said.

Posts on X, formerly Twitter, by several US lawmakers on their meetings with Indian American hoteliers represented by the Asian American Hotel Association (AAHOA), March 11-14, 2024. PHOTO: AAHOA

Among others attending the Congressional Reception was Democratic Congressman from Michigan Shri Thanedar, who introduced the Loans in Our Neighborhoods (LIONS) Act (H.R. 7242) just last month. The LIONS Act is designed to amend the Small Business Act by increasing the maximum gross loan amounts for section SBA 7(a) and 504 loans from $5M to $10M, something for which AAHOA has long advocated.

The first day of SNAC also featured guest speakers, including Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA-17).

Senator Marshall addressed AAHOA leaders, providing insight into his background, including his upbringing, and connected his experience working in the family business with that of AAHOA members.

Sen. Marshall is also a co-sponsor of the Credit Card Competition Act (S. 1838/H.R. 3881), legislation that will promote fee, security, and service competition among credit card networks. AAHOA is advocating for the passage of the Credit Card Competition Act, which it says would help hotel owners, and other retailers across the country, save on their bottom lines.

Congressman Khanna spoke to AAHOA members about his upbringing and what led him to run for Congressional Office. Rep. Khanna, the son of Indian immigrants, has much in common with AAHOA members, and champions more Indian Americans running for office. Rep. Khanna emphasized how representation is crucial to serving Indian-American communities and strengthening America’s economic and strategic partnership with India.

The organization holds these advocacy events twice-yearly and says it is becoming the foundation for shaping and driving national policy.

“As a champion of advocacy and building relationships with elected officials, AAHOA is proud to advocate on behalf of the hotel industry in the halls of Congress,” said AAHOA Chairman Bharat Patel. “SNAC provides AAHOA leaders the opportunity to learn about the issues impacting our industry and prepares them to have productive, impactful meetings with their elected officials on Capitol Hill,” he added.

According to Patel, “AAHOA’s reputation, influence, and recognition in Washington continues to grow, and it is thanks to the AAHOA Members who take the time to make advocacy a part of their business plan.”



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