(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) highlighted in a Senate floor speech the negative impact of the government shutdown on Connecticut-based Starwood Hotels and Resorts. The company has already suffered loss of business due to the reduced number of federal employees and contractors who stay at the company’s hotels and resorts on business-related travel and has expressed fears that the threat of economic instability will deter Americans' future business and leisure travel plans. A video of Blumenthal’s floor speech is here, and an excerpt of his remarks is below:
“I've heard this morning from staff and employees of the Starwood Hotels based in Stamford, Connecticut, who have written to Members of Congress like myself -- and I’m their senator so naturally they've written to me --- about the effect they see to their company and others like theirs in this industry, hotel and tourism, is vital to the state of Connecticut. In fact, we invest constructively and positively in promoting our state's tourism industry, and their plea to me -- and I’m going to just read from a letter written by Amy Kilbury, who is the Associate Director, I.T. Finance, at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, ‘The current impasse now in its third week is having a negative impact both on the economy in general and specifically on the travel and tourism industry, which depends on the confidence of business and individuals on the future stability of the economy. The shutdown is having ripple effects as federal agencies have reduced their operations, so have private government contractors and in turn, this is affecting both leisure and business travel.’
There's no question that the future health of the American economy depends on the policies that we need to adopt and advance, to sustain economic growth, indeed, to make it more robust, to preserve job creation, in fact, heighten and enhance it and to make sure that these employees of Starwood are well served, not impeded by the government that they support and elect. They support it with their taxes, they elect it with their votes, we have an obligation to with them to do better than we have.
The head of the association that represents Starwood, Katherine Lugar, who is the C.E.O. of the Lodging and Hotel Association, said hotels are a major economic driver and job creator across the country and the industry's ability to continue its growth is hamstrung by inaction from our policy members. And I’m quoting, ‘the administration, House of Representatives and Senate need to act swiftly in the best interests of the entire nation and end this shutdown.’
These issues are real and tangible. The harm is now and urgent. And I urge my colleagues to come together and resist the pressures and demonstrate the kinds of profiles in courage that we've seen on both sides of the aisle, standing strong, speaking out, resisting partisanship, coming together for the good of the country.”