The Office of Management and Budget issued new guidance Friday, directing federal agencies to cut travel spending by 30 percent starting in October and prohibiting more than $500,000 to be spent on conferences.
In addition, agencies will be required to provide annual public reports detailing conference spending.
In a post titled “Continuing to Crack Down on Government Waste” on the OMB blog, acting director Jeffrey Zients called the latest move “another important step forward” in cutting inefficient federal spending.
The new guidance directs agencies to find savings in travel, conference and real estate costs.
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“These are all common sense steps that will save taxpayer dollars by eliminating waste and improving government operations — all while maintaining the core government functions that the American people count on,” Zients wrote.
The latest mandate “builds upon work already underway to scrutinize travel and conference budgets,” Zients said, citing an executive order President Barack Obama issued in November directing agencies to cut spending on travel and conferences.
Since OMB first directed agencies to review travel and conference spending last September, Zients said agencies have developed plans that would provide a total of $1.2 billion in savings if fully implemented.
Left unsaid, however, was any mention of the $823,000 conference hosted by the General Services Administration in 2010, which, when revealed in the press, led to firings and resignations and kicked off a flurry of congressional action.
The House unanimously passed a bill last month limiting agency conference spending to $500,000 and capping travel to attend conferences at 80 percent of fiscal-year 2010 levels.