Washington Gridlock Hurts All Of Us

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The country is breathing a big sigh of relief since the dysfunctional government in Washington seems to have finally come to terms on the debt ceiling debate. I won't share my personal views on the outcome, but it must be a good compromise since no one seems to like it. We all hope this storm has passed and Congress and the White House can get back to more pressing issues—namely the sorry state of the economy and the miserable outlook for employment.

It's sad the tens of thousands of hours spent in the past few weeks and months on the debt ceiling issue weren't put to better use solving these much larger, more threatening issues, as well as ones less dramatic but equally important to many people, including hoteliers. For the lodging industry, that includes a host of issues like labor law, online travel agency taxation, visa restrictions and more. Unfortunately, hardly any other legislative business was conducted during the drawn-out debt ceiling negotiations. And I suspect the President and the leaders of Congress are all now so pooped they would like to take a two-week vacation instead of getting back to the business at hand.

Of course, even when Congress gets back into legislative high gear the looming 2012 election cycle will likely prevent much innovative, creative or mildly controversial legislation from hitting the floors of either chamber. Everyone's attention will be focused on the elections, not the important business at hand.

Most members of Congress will be heading home this week to recharge and regroup. This would be a great time to invite the legislator representing your district to come to your hotel for lunch or coffee or a drink. And that's the perfect time to remind him or her of the important work they have ahead of them, despite the most recent distraction and the one ahead of them in the form of next year's election.

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