Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lawmakers target travel in the Wake of GSA’s Las Vegas scandal

Following a series of hearings last week on the General Services Administration's (GSA) Las Vegas conference scandal, policymakers are proposing deep cuts in travel expenditures by US government agencies.  Today, Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), who oversees federal workforce issues for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, introduced legislation that would cut agency travel budgets in half next year and then do it again for fiscal 2015.  In addition, the proposed legislation would require federal agencies to start producing a yearly travel expense report with dates, locations and costs of employee travel.

Other provisions limiting what government agencies can spend on conferences are being voted on today in the US Senate, and include language that would limit the limit the number of employees from any single agency who could travel to international conferences.

Whether any of the legislative proposals are enacted or not, the focus on government travel will almost certainly have a chilling effect on the ability of our government scientists to attend and participate in scientific meetings… to the detriment of all, including the taxpayers that lawmakers are trying to protect.

Wasteful spending by government agencies is a fair target for policymakers and something that should be addressed.  However, I fear that in the context of a heated political environment and upcoming Presidential campaign, our government scientists will end up as collateral damage.

This guest post was provided by Patrick J. Donnelly, AOCS Chief Executive Officer. Thank you Pat for writing and thank you for reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment