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Updates from Sen. Schatz (May)

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U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mark Heinrich (D-N.M.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) have introduced a bill to preserve endangered Native languages.

The Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act creates a new grant initiative to establish or expand Native language immersion programs.

The grants will support the revitalization and maintenance of indigenous languages while increasing educational opportunities for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students.

“Immersion schools in Hawaii have shown us that if we incorporate culture, traditions, and language into education, we can preserve Native languages, improve student outcomes, and lift native communities,” said Schatz. “Our bill builds on the success of schools like Nawahiokalaniopuu and preserves our Native languages and cultures for this generation and the next.”

“Native languages connect students with their culture, history and heritage,” said Tester. “This bill increases access to critical funding for language immersion programs and ensures the survival of Native languages before it is too late.”

The Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act establishes a grant program under the Department of Education. The bill seeks to limit overhead costs and reduce the resource demands on tribal and school administrators seeking language immersion funding.

“The National Coalition of Native American Schools and Programs is thrilled with this bill as it supports the use of Native American languages as the primary language of instruction,” said Namaka Rawlins, Co-Chair of the National Coalition of Native American Schools and Programs. “We are also working hard to ensure that the new Elementary and Secondary Education Act aligns to the Native American Languages Act. And, we thank Senator Schatz for his strong support of our efforts.”

“Over the last thirty years, Hawaii has developed distinct Native language medium-immersion models of education from the infant toddler through doctoral levels that are demonstrating successful and promising student achievement results as it revitalizes its Native language,” said Dr. Keiki Kawaiaea, Director of the UH-Hilo Hawaiian Language College. “As a Hawaiian medium-immersion parent, grandparent, teacher educator and administrator, I am elated and sincerely grateful to Senator Tester and Senator Schatz for reintroducing the Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act that supports the revitalization and stabilization of Native American languages through Native language medium-immersion education.”

Individual grant levels and lengths are flexible. The grant program totals $5 million per year for five years. The grants can be awarded to tribes, tribal organizations, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and public or private schools to establish or expand existing immersion classes for students ranging from Pre-K through post-secondary education levels.

All of the approximately 148 remaining Native languages that are still spoken in the United States are at the risk of extinction within 50-100 years unless preservation actions are taken.

SENATE UNANIMOUSLY PASSES RESOLUTION HONORING HAWAIIAN COLONISTS OF EQUATORIAL ISLANDS

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution acknowledging and honoring the brave young men from Hawaii, the majority of whom were Native Hawaiian, who ensured the success of the Equatorial Pacific colonization project.

This once-secret initiative began in the 1930’s to enable the United States to claim jurisdiction over this hotly disputed area of the Pacific in the years leading up to World War II.

The earliest colonists were new Kamehameha Schools graduates who were dispatched to the remote islands of Howland, Baker and Jarvis.

These young men had been carefully selected to ensure that they could survive in the isolated, barren, and inhospitable environment with little support from outside. The colonization ended abruptly when Imperial Japan attacked these islands and Pearl Harbor in 1941.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who introduced the resolution, commended the Hui Panalaau in this the 80th anniversary of the first landing of Native Hawaiian colonists.

“This is a remarkable story of humble valor, when 130 sons of Hawaii made use of their island spirit and resourcefulness to make a very big difference for America and ultimately the free world,” said Schatz. “It is my sincere hope that the deeds of the Hui Panalaau colonists will be more broadly shared, understood, and appreciated by the people of Hawaii and by Americans who treasure our rich history.”

Throughout the seven years of colonization of the islands (1935-1942), 130 young men in small groups joined the effort and risked their lives on remote islands far from the safety and security of their homes and family.

The mission was led by the Department of the Interior to establish American possession at first because the islands were seen as potential stopovers for a newly budding commercial air travel industry.

As World War II intensified and the Japanese empire advanced across the Pacific, control of the islands became important militarily.

In their service, three young men lost their lives, one from a ruptured appendix and two following a Japanese air attack in 1941. Others sustained permanent injuries during their service.

The earliest colonists were from the Kamehameha Schools, and later colonists also hailed from Roosevelt and McKinley High Schools. Today, there are three known surviving colonists in Hawaii.

“Passage of this Resolution is ‘pono’ and will go a long way to help recognize the commitment and bravery that these colonist undertook to risk their lives in service to their country and Pacific Island heritage,” said Herb Lee Jr., Executive Director of the Pacific American Foundation (PAF) in Kaneohe, Hawaii

“Students are inspired by the role played by individuals their own age in history,” said Dr. Kauanoe Kamana, Principal of NawahIokalaniopuu Hawaiian language immersion school. “Passage of this resolution to honor the young Native Hawaiian colonists of remote Pacific Islands during World War II is an especially meaningful and proud moment for our students. Mahalo to Senator Schatz for making sure the Hui Panalaau colonists finally receive the national recognition they deserve.”

COMMITTEE ADVANCES MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, VA APPROPRIATIONS BILL WITH HAWAII PRIORITIES

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, worked to include $444 million for military construction projects across Hawaii.

“The $444 million in funding for military construction projects that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved today reflects the long-term investment that the Department of Defense is making in Hawaii,” said Schatz. “Hawaii has long been recognized as an essential link to the Asia-Pacific region; and militarily, our location, training environment, and knowledge of the Asia Pacific are central to the Defense Department’s strategic engagement in the region. This appropriations bill ensures that the military will have the facilities, capabilities, and infrastructure it needs to sustain Hawaii’s long-term role in the rebalance to Asia.”

Funding for Hawaii military construction projects in the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs spending bill is approximately $16 million more than the House version and $200 million above the enacted FY 2015 omnibus bill.

Projects in Hawaii include:

* $30.6 million to consolidate the electric grid at Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility, a crucial step toward ensuring that the base can manage its load requirements to support Ballistic Missile Defense testing and other Navy missions;

* $46.0 million for a new F-22 fighter alert facility to strengthen the readiness of the Hawaii Air National Guard;

* $123.8 million for a new Behavioral Health and Dental Clinic at Schofield Barracks that will help improve the capacity of the base to help service members get care they need; and

* $122.1 million to replace Kaneohe Bay’s Medical/Dental Clinic which would improve health services for service members and their families.

The bill will now be reported to the full Senate for consideration.

SCHATZ, MCCAIN, SULLIVAN CONDEMN CHINA’S CONSTRUCTION ON SPRATLY ISLANDS

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), and U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) introduced a resolution condemning China’s construction of artificial land formations on the Spratly Islands and calling for a peaceful and multilateral resolution to the South China Sea territorial dispute.

In recent years, China has aggressively constructed artificial islands in the South China Sea, violating customary and international law and a 2002 Code of Conduct which helps govern the region.

Administration officials have said that these artificial islands are expected to support airstrips that will allow China’s military to land fighter jets and surveillance aircraft, adding a military dimension to an already tense regional dispute.

With competing claims from five other nations, China’s provocative actions threaten to undermine regional stability.

“China’s effort to unilaterally redraw the region’s maritime borders exacerbates the risks of misperceptions, accidents, and conflict,” said Schatz. “Our bipartisan resolution makes clear that China needs to act responsibly. The United States is committed to promoting regional peace and stability, and protecting its interests and the interests of its partners and allies who have committed to addressing this dispute through a multilateral process.”

“I am proud to co-sponsor this bill with Senator Schatz and Senator Sullivan that condemns China’s aggressive effort to reclaim new territory in the South China Sea,” said McCain. “As we have heard in recent testimony from senior government officials, for the past two years China has rapidly added over 2,000 new acres of man-made features to bolster its claim to all of the South China Sea. Despite its commitment to peacefully resolve its maritime territorial disputes with its neighbors, experts tell us Beijing is likely to add runways, ports, logistics facilities, and offensive military capabilities to these features in the year ahead. The United States has a national interest in the South China Sea. We will continue to work with our allies and partners throughout the region to deepen our relationships and our mutual commitment to uphold peace and stability in this critical maritime highway.”

“Over the past few months, I have become increasingly concerned about the escalatory nature of the situation in the South China Sea,” said Sullivan. “As one the world’s key conduits of energy – nearly one-third of global crude oil and over half of global liquefied natural gas (LNG) passes through the South China Sea each year – it is imperative that this region remain peaceful and free of conflict. Today, I join my colleagues, Senator Schatz and Chairman McCain, in drawing additional attention to actions in the Spratly Islands, with the hope of ensuring continued stability in the South China Sea and the larger Asia-Pacific region.”

According to recent reports, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has begun considering sending U.S. Navy surveillance aircrafts and naval ships to the region to ensure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

SCHATZ, SULLIVAN WORK TO PASS INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES BILLS OUT OF COMMERCE COMMITTEE

The Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved several bills, including a group of international fisheries bills championed by U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska).

These include S. 1334, the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act; S. 1335, the North Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act; and S. 1336, the South Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act.

“I thank Senator Sullivan for his work to combat pirate fishing,” said Schatz. “Pirate fishing damages the environment and harms U.S. fishermen. With these bills, the Senate Commerce Committee has taken a strong bipartisan position to stand up against fishing vessels who break international law, and to refuse them access to U.S. ports and markets. U.S. fisheries are the best managed in the world, and our bills empower U.S. negotiators to press other nations to come up to our standards.”

“I am pleased to have worked with my fellow Commerce Committee member Senator Schatz on these important international fisheries bills — and continue the bipartisan tradition that began under the leadership of the late Senators Ted Stevens and Daniel Inouye,” said Sullivan. “Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing is a global problem that has estimated economic costs of up to $23 billion annually. In Alaska, our iconic crab industry has led the fight against IUU fishing, because of the damaging affects these criminal activities have had on their industry, but many other fisheries are also impacted both in Alaska and nationwide. The increased and streamlined enforcement tools provided in S. 1334 will assist the Coast Guard and NOAA in curbing this criminal activity that threatens our domestic fishermen by endangering the health of our fisheries resources and distorting our markets.”

S. 1334, which is sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and also co-sponsored by Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), would implement the Port States Measures Agreement, and will increase enforcement capabilities of NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard to combat IUU fishing throughout the United States.

S. 1335, the North Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act, and S. 1336, the South Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act, would implement treaties ratified by the Senate last year to manage certain North and South Pacific fisheries.

Together, the three bills strengthen the international framework for keeping fisheries healthy, so that U.S. fishermen will always be a vibrant part of the coastal economy.

SCHATZ SPEAKS IN OPPOSITION TO FAST-TRACK AUTHORITY

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) spoke on the Senate floor to oppose the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), legislation that would restrict Congress from amending future trade agreements for the next six years and would allow foreign investors to challenge governments for enforcing their own laws, potentially undermining public health, safety, or environmental policies.

“I oppose the procedures contained in this bill, and I am seriously concerned about using fast-track to pass trade agreements that do not reflect the best interests of the American people and undermine the prerogatives of the Congress,” said Schatz. “Corporate interests should not be the driving force for public policy decisions on public health, consumer safety, and the environment.”

The full text of remarks follow:

I want to join my colleagues in voicing my opposition to granting fast-track authority.

I oppose the procedures contained in this bill, and I’m seriously concerned about using fast-track to pass trade agreements that do not reflect the best interests of the American people and can undermine the prerogatives of the Congress.

Some who support fast-track would have you believe that opposing this bill and the Trans Pacific Partnership means opposition to a free market, trade, and commerce. That is not true. Commerce is essential and we should promote it.

But corporate interests should not be the driving force for public policy decisions on public health, consumer safety, and the environment.

Just this week, a WTO ruling on our country-of-origin food labeling law provided a striking example of how what is called “free trade” can be used to erode consumer protection laws.

The country-of-origin labeling law was passed by Congress, and it requires producers of meat and chicken to provide information to consumers on where the animal was raised and slaughtered.

If you ask most people, they would say they want to know if their beef is from Texas or Taiwan. And even if one isn’t particularly passionate about that, it is certainly commonly viewed as squarely within the authorities of Congress to require such disclosure.

Consumers in the U.S. want to know where their food comes from. Through a legitimate democratic process, we passed a law to provide consumers with this information.

But no matter how we have revised the rule pursuant to law, it apparently still is not in compliance with our WTO commitments. It seems that we will have to repeal the law to avoid trade sanctions.

While our WTO obligations are not the same as our commitments under a free trade agreement, it does not require too much imagination to see how other U.S. laws will buckle under future trade agreements.

This is why the deal-breaker for me is the investor-state dispute settlement or “ISDS” for short.

ISDS provides a special forum outside of our well-established court system that is just for foreign investors. These investors are given the right to sue governments over laws and regulations that impact their businesses – a legal right not granted to anyone else.

This forum is not available to anyone other than foreign investors. It is not open to domestic businesses, labor unions, civil society groups, or individuals that allege a violation of a treaty obligation.

The arbitrators that preside over these cases are literally not accountable to anyone; and their decisions cannot be appealed.

To date, nearly 600 ISDS cases have been filed. Of the 274 cases that have been concluded, almost 60 percent have settled or been decided in favor of the investor.

It is true that when a tribunal rules in favor of the investor, the arbitrators cannot force the government to change its laws. But they can order the government to pay the investor, which has the same effect.

There is no limit to what compensation foreign investors can demand. The largest award to date was more than $2 billion dollars. For developing countries that must pay awards of this size, sometimes this represents up to a third of their GDP.

Most governments cannot risk such a loss and end up settling.

The government often agrees to change the law or regulation that is being challenged and still pays some compensation.

The threat of a case can be enough to convince a government to back away from legitimate public health, safety, or environmental policies. ISDS cases cost millions of dollars to defend and take years to reach their final conclusion.

The high-profile cases filed by Philip Morris International challenging cigarette packaging laws have had a chilling effect around the world. Several countries have been intimidated into holding off on passing their own laws to reduce smoking.

Every year of delay is a victory for tobacco companies. They get one more year to attract new, young smokers. In the case of tobacco, the cost of ISDS could be human life.

I would hope that if we empower corporations to challenge democratically enacted laws and regulations, we would be doing so for a very compelling reason.

Yet, the rationale behind ISDS is very thin. Advocates claim that investor protections like ISDS draw foreign investment into a country.

But no one has actually been able to demonstrate that this link exists. Studies have not even been able to show a significant correlation between investor protections and the level of foreign investment in a country.

Instead of driving decisions to invest, ISDS provisions are being manipulated by wealthy multinational corporations.

Some companies seem to be setting up complex corporate structures explicitly for the purpose of taking advantage of existing ISDS provisions.

This is what Australia is alleging that Philip Morris did to challenge Australia’s tobacco laws.

Philip Morris’s Hong Kong entity bought shares in Philip Morris’s Australian company just 10 months after Australia announced its cigarette plain packaging rules.

It seems Philip Morris did this for no other purpose than to gain access to the ISDS provision in the Hong Kong-Australia bilateral investment treaty.

ISDS is just another arrow in a quiver of legal options available to multinational corporations – and no other entity or person.

The consequences for public health, safety, and the environment far outweigh any real or imagined benefit of ISDS.

For these reasons, I oppose fast-track and any free trade agreement that contains an ISDS provision.

SCHATZ, MURPHY, HIMES ANNOUNCE COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY AND INNOVATION ACT OF 2015

U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and U.S. Representative Jim Himes (CT-4) announced the introduction of their College Affordability and Innovation Act – legislation that will make college more affordable for students across the United States by prioritizing innovation and tying federal funding for colleges to their ability to meet affordability and student outcomes goals.

By encouraging colleges to innovate and by holding them accountable to the students they serve, the College Affordability and Innovation Act will help curb rising college costs, reduce reliance on costly student loans, and expand economic opportunity for all students.

While some colleges have implemented new and creative ideas to reduce costs, not enough colleges have put these ideas into practice. In fact, over the last 20 years, the cost of college has risen by 300 percent.

The College Affordability and Innovation Act is an innovative new approach to cutting the cost of college.

The bill requires colleges to keep tuition under control, and award degrees that lead to jobs for graduates, in order to continue receiving federal funding.

It also incentivizes schools to create new models of education that reduce the time to degree so that students can graduate faster with less debt.

“The rising cost of college is one of the biggest challenges for families,” said Schatz. “Today, students in Hawaii and across the country are too often loaded with debt after graduating, making it difficult for them to move up the economic ladder. Our bill will make sure institutions receiving federal funding are doing their part to make higher education more affordable and accessible for low- and middle-income students. By providing incentives for schools to improve quality and reduce the cost of college, we can expand opportunities for more people and make it easier for students to reach their full potential.”

“I’ve heard from students and parents all across the state, and it’s clear that the most important thing Congress can do for them is pressure schools to bring down the cost of a degree,” said Murphy. “Our legislation will incentivize schools to create new, innovative programs to reduce the cost of school while improving the quality of the degree, and will set new standards for schools that receive federal funding so that they’re more accountable to students and taxpayers. Federal higher education policy should focus first on lowering the cost of college, and second on helping students borrow more easily.”

“Whenever I hold a town hall meeting, parents and students share their fears about how they are going to pay for college,” said Himes. “It keeps them awake at night. The cost of higher education is straining finances, causing stress, putting a college degree out of reach for many, and burdening those who scrape together savings and loans with crippling debt.

Himes continued, “The College Affordability and Innovation Act will make college more affordable by promoting much needed innovation and holding institutions accountable to students and taxpayers. There is no silver bullet to fix these rising costs, but by incentivizing and monitoring colleges we can start moving in the right direction, and make the dream of higher education a reality for more Americans.”

To encourage colleges to innovate and be accountable to the students they serve, the College Affordability and Innovation Act does the following:

* Creates a new evidence-based competitive pilot program to encourage innovation. Currently, there is little incentive for colleges to test ideas that may reduce the cost of college. This new pilot program would spark innovation by authorizing and funding a new evidence-based competitive pilot program to encourage institutions to develop programs that offer high-quality education, lower costs, and reduce the time for completing a degree. These programs would potentially include online courses, competency-based degrees, dual-enrollment programs, streamlined school/program transfers, and accelerated degrees.

* Implements rigorous evaluations for new programs. Under the bill, institutions that receive funding to implement new, innovative programs that reduce the cost of college would undergo rigorous evaluations of these programs to ensure that students are getting a quality education.

* Creates new commission to recommend minimum accountability standards for all institutions that receive Title IV dollars. In order to ensure that all schools are delivering quality education for their students, the bill would create a commission of students, education experts, and stakeholders to recommend minimum standards for each undergraduate program in the United States to meet in order to remain eligible for federal funding. Those standards will focus on the access schools provide to low- and middle-income students, affordability, and value.

* Rewards institutions that do best on new accountability measures. Institutions that do best on these measures will receive funding awards to be used for additional need-based aid for students. Institutions that consistently fall below the minimum standards created by the new commission will be incentivized to improve by requiring them to improve over a gradual period or face a loss of Title IV eligibility.

SCHATZ, THUNE INTRODUCE WEATHER LEGISLATION FOCUSED ON IMPROVING SEASONAL FORECASTING

U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee member Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) announced the introduction of S. 1331, the Seasonal Forecasting Improvement Act.

The legislative proposal directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to improve seasonal forecasts – defined in the bill as periods over two weeks but less than two years.

“Seasonal forecasts save lives and protect livelihoods,” said Schatz. “Knowing about an active hurricane season in advance can make all the difference to prepare families and communities. With better information on the seasonal time scale, businesses as diverse as tourism, farming, and construction can plan ahead so people have jobs to return to after severe weather. Our legislation gives NOAA the tools to improve and expand its forecasting research, giving Hawaii families, businesses, and local governments the information they need to plan ahead.”

“Meaningful strides in longer-term forecasting appear within reach, but it will require a concerted effort that draws on existing models, data, research, and technology,” said Thune. “Once achieved, seasonal forecasting will offer warnings about unusually cold winters, hot summers, drought, and other longer term weather trends. This information will aid Americans from many walks of life – from farmers looking to make informed decisions on crop planning to local governments stocking up on supplies to treat icy roads.”

The pathway to improvements proposed in the legislation are based on NOAA’s existing National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), which provides valuable information about drought status, and brings together federal, state, and local stakeholders to ensure the information is relevant and useable.

S. 1331 also includes provisions reforming satellite procurement by NOAA to a focus on best value that includes the ability of equipment to integrate with current ground and space systems.

The legislation authorizes appropriations through fiscal year 2020, provides for a review of current weather research programs and establishes a panel of science and engineering efforts to advise and assess weather forecast projects.

The Senate Commerce Committee has broad jurisdiction over NOAA and other agencies related to weather forecasting.

SCHATZ, KLOBUCHAR, BLUNT, KIRK RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING CONTRIBUTIONS OF TOURISM

U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) announced that their bipartisan resolution recognizing the contributions of tourism to the United States passed the Senate.

The bipartisan resolution supports the goals of National Travel and Tourism Week—which this year is being marked on May 2-10—and recognizes the important role travel and tourism play in boosting the U.S. economy.

One out of every nine jobs in the U.S. depends on travel and tourism, and the industry supports 15 million jobs across the country.

Tourism is the single largest export industry in the U.S.

Schatz, Klobuchar, Blunt, and Kirk are co-chairs of the bipartisan Senate Tourism Caucus.

“Tourism and travel gives us the chance to share Hawaii’s natural beauty and culture with the rest of the world,” said Schatz. “It’s not only a great way to share Hawaii’s vibrant culture, it’s one of the most important sectors of our local economy, creating good jobs and supporting thousands of small businesses. I’m proud to join my colleagues to recognize the important role our visitor industry plays, and I look forward to continue working on policies that promote travel to Hawaii and boost our local economy.”

“From the Mall of America to the Boundary Waters, there are countless reasons for international tourists to come experience Minnesota for themselves,” said Klobuchar. “Tourism to Minnesota generates nearly $12 billion in sales, which provides a big boost to cities and towns all across our state. We need to do everything we can to attract more visitors to the U.S. who will help our businesses and communities thrive.”

“Travel and tourism are an important part of Missouri’s economy, as nearly 40 million visitors traveled to see our wide range of attractions last year, creating jobs and generating more than $15 billion in revenue for the state,” said Blunt. “I’m pleased to join my colleagues on this bipartisan resolution as we work to promote the job-creating travel and tourism industries in Missouri and each and every state.”

“Chicago set a tourism record in 2014 with 3.98 million hotel rooms sold. With 55 million visitors a year by 2020, travel and tourism will bring more than $30 million to Illinois annually,” said Kirk. “New 10-year Chinese tourist visas would encourage even more visitors to our state and nation – I applaud my colleagues for recognizing the importance of travel and tourism to our nation.”

The full text of the resolution is below:

Whereas National Travel and Tourism Week was established in 1983 through the enactment of the Joint Resolution entitled “Joint Resolution to designate the week beginning May 27, 1984, as ‘National Tourism Week’”, approved November 29, 1983 (Public Law 98–178; 97 Stat. 1126), which recognized the value of travel and tourism;
Whereas National Travel and Tourism Week is celebrated across the United States from May 2 through May 10, 2015;
Whereas more than 120 travel destinations throughout the United States are holding events in honor of National Travel and Tourism Week;
Whereas 1 out of every 9 jobs in the United States depends on travel and tourism, and the industry supports 15,000,000 jobs in the United States;
Whereas the travel and tourism industry employs individuals in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and all the territories of the United States;
Whereas international travel to the United States is the single largest export industry in the country, generating a trade surplus balance of approximately $74,000,000,000;
Whereas the travel and tourism industry, Congress, and the President have worked to streamline the visa process and make the United States welcoming to visitors from other countries;
Whereas travel and tourism provide significant economic benefits to the United States by generating nearly $2,100,000,000,000 in annual economic output;
Whereas leisure travel allows individuals to experience the rich cultural heritage and educational opportunities of the United States and its communities; and
Whereas the immense value of travel and tourism cannot be overstated: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) supports the goals and ideals of National Travel and Tourism Week;
(2) commends the travel and tourism industry for its important contributions to the United States; and
(3) commends the employees of the travel and tourism industry for their important contributions to the United States.

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