House Bill Calls for Report on Impact of Federal Travel Spending Cuts
More than a year after the Office of Management and Budget implemented across-the-board cuts to federal travel spending, an appropriations bill headed to the House floor would have the agency investigate the impact of the change.
A year after across-the-board federal travel spending cuts were ordered by the Obama administration, a mandate in a bill approved last week by the House Appropriations Committee could help the government assess their impact.
A requirement included in the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2014 would require the Office of Management and Budget to submit a report detailing the positive and negative effects of the travel spending cuts, Successful Meetings reported. The cuts have affected numerous conferences in the past year.
The provision was championed by Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Ranking Member José Serrano (D-NY), and Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA). A report on the bill [PDF] explains what the panel is looking for:
On May 11, 2012, OMB issued Memorandum M 12 12 that called for agencies to reduce travel expenses by 30 percent compared to the fiscal year 2010 level and limit conference spending. The committee directs OMB to report no later than 120 days after enactment of this act on whether agencies have complied with this memorandum. The report shall identify the savings achieved by each agency, whether the 30 percent savings goal was achieved, and how or if the changes in travel and conference policies have impacted agencies’ ability to perform mission-critical activities. The report shall also include recommendations to improve upon OMB’s travel policies.
The House Appropriations Committee approved the bill on July 17, and it will now go to the full chamber for a vote. The bill provides annual funding for a number of major federal agencies, including the General Services Administration and the Treasury Department.
The U.S. Travel Association praised the provision, saying it reflected “commonsense government travel reforms.”
“The action by the subcommittee to require OMB to examine the impact of these policies is a responsible approach that will help ensure that government travel policies safeguard taxpayer dollars, help accomplish agency missions, and allow for mission-critical travel to take place,” the group’s president and CEO, Roger Dow, said in a press release.
The group discouraged any permanent changes to the government’s travel policies until such oversight has been completed.