IHRSA’s Latest Capitol Hill Fly-In Focused Attention to PHIT Act

    The second 2023 IHRSA Fly-In drew 70 fitness industry leaders who advocated for the health and fitness industry and the PHIT Act in 60 legislative meetings.

    On October 23, 70 industry executives met with U.S. legislators and their staff members on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to drive home the importance of the health and fitness industry and the need to pass the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act.

    The IHRSA communications team was onsite to experience the day’s events and speak with several industry leaders to hear their thoughts about the Fly-In and why these events need more support. Watch the full video recap or read the summary below to find out more.

    The Fly-In—the second for IHRSA in 2023—was hosted in conjunction with The Fitness Technology Summit, which was held October 24-25 in Alexandria, VA.

    Last year, Al Noshirvani, a club owner and the founder of The Fitness Technology Summit, gave $150,000 in proceeds from The Fitness Technology Summit to IHRSA’s advocacy efforts. This year, he wanted to support advocacy more directly.

    “I’m now an IHRSA Board member, and I wanted to make sure that I could support IHRSA in any capacity that I could,” he said.

    Before the meetings, the participants attended a breakfast briefing during which IHRSA Vice President of Government Relations Mike Goscinski and IHRSA Senior Vice President of Communications Jeff Solsby answered questions, highlighted information to disclose during the meetings, and encouraged participants to share their stories with legislators.

    “I think the association is absolutely incredible at setting up an environment where you don’t feel pressured to carry all the specifics of the legislation, and you can talk about what’s outstanding about our industry,” said 24 Hour Fitness CEO Karl Sanft.

    ABC Fitness CEO Bill Davis agreed, “IHRSA does a fantastic job of doing all the heavy lifting around the organizing of the meetings, ensuring that we are well prepared with the talking points. So if you have any concerns, I can assure you that those are well attended to, and it’s just again a great opportunity to bring an active voice to the industry that we love.”

    Divided into 10 groups led by an IHRSA staff member or an industry leader with previous advocacy experience, the industry leaders held 60 meetings with legislators or their staff members. They also left behind pamphlets about the industry and benefits of the PHIT Act.

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    2023 IHRSA Fly-In attendees held 60 meetings on Capitol Hill

    The PHIT Act would allow Americans to use pre-tax dollars in their Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) to pay for gym memberships, fitness equipment, and sports league fees up to $1,000 for individuals or $2,000 per family each year at $250 maximum for each expenditure.

    We’ve seen the PHIT Act introduced in every Congressional session since the 109th Congress. For the 118th Congress, the bill was reintroduced in the House (H.R. 1582) and Senate (S. 786) on March 14, 2023. As of October 30, the PHIT Act had 16 Senate co-sponsors and 60 House co-sponsors, almost equally split between Republicans and Democrats.

    “The fly-in experience is the result of a lot of hard work by the team at IHRSA, which has really proven itself to be a strong association,” Al said. He encouraged others to become IHRSA members, noting that the fly-in is just one of several efforts IHRSA supports to promote important causes in the industry.

    The next fly-in is scheduled for May 7-8, 2024. For details about how you can participate, contact IHRSA Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Goscinski at mike.goscinski@ihrsa.org.

    If you’re interested in learning more about advocacy and how IHRSA’s government relations team is pushing the industry forward in Congress, register for the IHRSA Convention & Trade Show. An Advocacy track will be available to IHRSA 2024 convention attendees from March 6-8 in Los Angeles. Meet us there!

    Author avatar

    Pamela Kufahl

    Pamela Kufahl is the Health & Fitness Association's Senior Director of Communications. She is responsible for driving social media content, producing member and industry-facing resources, such as the Global Report and Health Club Consumer Report, and creating tools to help promote the industry domestically and to international media, NGOs, and policy organizations. When Pamela isn't in the office, she enjoys exercising, visiting museums, going to the theater and movies, and fostering puppies.