Titus to Lead Gaming Caucus Again, Gets Tourism Relief in American Rescue Plan

US Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nevada, will once again serve as the co-chair of the Congressional Gaming Caucus.

US Rep. Dina Titus speaks at a Vegas Chamber event in March 2019. Titus was recently reappointed to serve as the co-chair for the Congressional Gaming Caucus. (Image: Vegas Chamber)

In a press release sent out Wednesday, Titus said both she and U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pennsylvania, will head the group that consists of more than 30 House members. In addition, Titus also is the co-chair for the larger Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus.

That panel includes more than 100 members of Congress.

“These bipartisan groups in the House will lead the way on crafting federal policy to boost the economy in regions that have disproportionately suffered due to the pandemic,” Titus said in a statement. “At a time when so many in southern Nevada are struggling through no fault of their own, we certainly have our work cut out for us to bring back jobs in downtown Las Vegas and on the Strip.”

Titus Gets Travel Provision in COVID Rescue Plan

In the early morning hours Saturday in DC, the House passed the American Rescue Plan. HR 1319 the first COVID relief bill during the Biden Administration, and Titus was able to secure funding in the bill for tourism-related businesses, like the casino resorts on the Strip in her district.

The bill creates $3 billion in funding for economic adjustment assistance, which will help communities deal with a variety of impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that funding, 15 percent, or $450 million, will be allocated for communities suffering from job losses in travel and tourism.

In a statement early Saturday, Titus noted that the lack of tourists heading to Las Vegas has led to the city facing the highest unemployment of any large metropolitan area.

Each morning I wake up and think about what I can do for Southern Nevadans who are suffering through no fault of their own,” Titus said. “I am proud to tell them that help is on the way.”

The $1.9 trillion bill did not receive a single Republican vote as it cleared by a 219-212 margin. Two House Democrats did vote against the plan.

It now heads to the Senate, where the bill should pass, perhaps as soon as sometime this upcoming week.

More Help from Congress on the Way?

Two other Nevada federal lawmakers made news this past week when they sponsored a bill that would also provide relief for the hospitality industry hammered by the COVID pandemic over the past year.

A bipartisan group of Senators and House members filed the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act. Among the bill’s provisions is an individual tax credit of up to 50 percent of qualified travel expenses. The bill defines qualified travel as an overnight stay at least 50 miles away from the person’s home. Qualified deductions would include expenses related to meals, lodging, amusement, and transportation.

US Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nevada, and US Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nevada, are sponsors of the bill in their respective chambers.

Lawmakers said that the hospitality industry bore the brunt of the pandemic’s economic toll. Last year, the spending on travel was reduced by nearly a half-trillion dollars. That reduced tax revenues by $64 billion at the local, state, and federal levels.

In addition, 39 percent of the jobs lost over the past year came from the travel and hospitality industry.

“The pandemic has been devastating to these sectors, and they deserve support from the federal government as they fight to stay in business,” Horsford said in a statement.

The legislation has the support of several trade industries, including the American Gaming Association.

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