The Congressman spearheading legislative moves to limit compensation to executives of companies that have accepted federal bailout funds formally stated his support for incentive and meeting travel on the floor of the House of Representatives on April 1.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, had a formal conversation with Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), who represents Las Vegas, read into the record regarding a bill on executive compensation for Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) fund recipients.
The colloquy began with Rep. Berkley reciting the damage done to the meeting, event and incentive travel business by the perception that congress felt TARP recipients were wasting taxpayer dollars by engaging in any type of business travel, and that false perception was causing even executives of financially sound companies to ban such travel as well.
A video clip of the colloquy is available of the U.S. Travel Association's Website under the heading, "Major Win: Washington Changing Tone Toward Business Travel." The meat of it, for incentive planners, is excerpted below.
Rep. Berkley: "I would like to clarify with the chairman that nothing in this bill or the amendments to be offered today would discourage or limit the use of meetings, events or incentive travel organized by a company that serve legitimate business purposes, is that the Chairman’s understanding?"
Rep. Frank: "Yes, this bill deals with only with compensation, not with travel. Any incentive that is performance based would be fully allowed. In general, if you sold a certain number of things, you’d win a trip, that would be allowed. Specifically, it does not deal with travel for the business, and it would allow performance based [Frank's emphasis] incentives for this or any other purpose."