Florida’s Senators Resume the Push to Let Canadians Stay Longer in the U.S.

Florida’s two U.S. senators have teamed up in the latest effort to allow Canadians to stay longer in the United States.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., first brought out the “Canadian Snowbirds Act” back in September 2019 with U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., R-Fla., cosponsoring it. The bill would add two extra months to the 182 days that retired Canadians who are 50 and older can stay in the United States each year.

Last week, Rubio reintroduced the proposal with Scott continuing to back it.

“Tourism is critical to Florida’s economy and supports more than one million jobs all across the Sunshine State,” Rubio said. “This bill will be a huge boost to our state’s economy by allowing the millions of Canadian snowbirds who visit Florida each year to stay here for two more months.”

“Throughout my time as governor, we worked hard to grow Florida’s tourism industry, and we saw a record-breaking number of visitors every year,” Scott said. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely hurt Florida’s travel and tourism industries. Now as we continue to recover, we should do everything we can to welcome visitors to our state, like our neighbors to the north, which helps communities thrive, businesses grow, and creates job opportunities for Florida families. I’m proud to join Senator Rubio in sponsoring this bill to allow Canadian snowbirds to enjoy two more months of Florida’s incredible weather and continue to support our tourism industry.”

The 2019 bill had the support of the Canadian Snowbird Association and Visit Florida which noted that around 3.5 million Canadians visited the Sunshine State in 2018 and added $6.5 billion to the state’s economy. The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday.

Other members of the Florida delegation have also been working on the issue. U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., has championed a proposal to extend the amount of time Canadians who own or lease a home in the U.S. can stay there during the year. Deutch and U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, have been working on the “Canadian Snowbird Visa Act” which they worked together on back in 2017.

“We’re proud to welcome our northern neighbors to our sunny corner of the country,” Deutch said in support of the bill. “In fact, their visits to South Florida contribute significantly to our regional economy, helping local businesses and creating jobs. I’m proud to work with my New York colleague to introduce this bill to allow our Canadian guests to extend their stay in the United States.”

Back in early 2017, then U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., teamed up with U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, D-NJ, to bring out the “Promoting Tourism to Enhance our Economy Act.” The proposal would let seniors from Canada who own a secondary residence in the U.S. visit for 240 days a year instead of the current 180 days. They would still be classified as nonresident aliens and would not be eligible for public assistance.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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