This week Congress took the first concrete steps to alter government travel as a result of the General Services Administration's (GSA) actions. The Senate and House have each approved amendments to separate bills (the DATA Act and the Postal Reform bill, respectively) that would limit government conference spending and increase reporting requirements for federal agencies holding or participating in conferences. Among other provisions, the amendments would:
- Reduce the amount a federal agency can spend on conferences to 80 percent of the amount spent in 2010;
- Cap the amount that a federal agency can spend on a single conference at $500,000;
- Require federal agencies to publish on the Internet details of their conference spending for each quarter, including costs for lodging, planning, food and beverages;
- Limit the number of government employees who can attend international conferences; and
- Limit the number of non-governmental conferences that federal agencies can sponsor or attend.