In the wake of the GSA scandal, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget late Friday, May 11, issued a memorandum that proposed cutting travel budgets for government agencies by 30 percent every year through 2016.
Other parts of the memo allow federal travel to continue to take place but with added oversight and internal controls. These include requiring deputy secretaries to review any conference where the agency spending could exceed $100,000; prohibiting agencies from spending over $500,000 on a conference unless the agency’s Secretary approves a waiver; and require agencies to post publicly each January on the prior year’s conference spending, including descriptions of agency conferences that cost more than $100,000.
The new monitoring is consistent with a U.S. Travel proposal—issued just a few days before the OMB announcement—which suggested requiring federal agencies to report all conference-related expenditures and conference contracting procedures to the Inspector General at the end of each fiscal year; and the permanent eliminatation of the blacklisting of American cities for government conferences and meetings.
However, U.S Travel is concerned about the proposed cuts, noted Roger Dow, president and CEO, in a written statement to the industry.
“We will continue to monitor this issue closely,” he said, “and work with the administration to mitigate any adverse impacts to travel.”