Daily Dose: Travel and Meeting Controls Placed on Government Agencies

Government travel and conferences will likely take a slowdown as new controls have been placed to curb spending in the wake of the GSA conference scandal. Jeffrey D. Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget
sent out a memo to government officials and wrote up a blog post outlining these new controls Friday.

The controls include a mandatory review by deputy secretaries for conference spending which totals over $100,000 and prohibits conferences costing more than $500,000 without a waiver by the agencies Secretary. The 2010 GSA conference which led to these controls cost taxpayers over $800,000.

Some worry that these controls may hamper innovation. Ross Bell, a lobbyist for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics says that conferences are “where the ideas come to fruition, or start.”

Speaking with Chris Dorobek of the DorobekINSIDER, Tom Fox, vice president for Leadership and Innovation at the Partnership for Public Service was concerned that the controls would create an isolated federal government.

New Federal Limits on Travel, Meetings

Others aren’t so concerned. Daniel Werfel, controller of OMB’s Office of Federal Financial Management said:

“This guidance will not hamper the ability of federal employees to do their jobs for the American people … What this guidance does is make sure that agency officials are careful when using taxpayer dollars in fulfilling their agencies’ missions and held accountable for their decisions.”

Will these controls successfully curb government conference spending while allowing only worthwhile conferences to be attended?


“Daily Dose of the Washington Post” is a blog series created by GovLoop in partnership with The Washington Post. If you see great stories in the Post and want to ask a question around it, please send them to [email protected].

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