OMB cracks down on travel costs

As legislation intended to prevent conference-related spending abuses works its way through Congress, the Office of Management and Budget is taking immediate action. In a memo issued May 11, OMB Director Jeff Zients imposed new limitations on agency travel and conferences.

They include:

  • Agencies must decrease spending on travel by 30 percent;
  • Deputy secretaries must review any conference where the agency spending could exceed $100,000;
  • Agencies may not spend more than $500,000 on a conference unless the agency’s Secretary approves a waiver;
  • Agencies must post publicly each January on the prior year’s conference spending, including descriptions of agency conferences that cost more than $100,000.

"This new guidance builds upon work already underway to scrutinize travel and conference budgets," Zients wrote in a blog entry announcing the new rules. "Last September, for instance, OMB directed agency leadership to conduct thorough reviews of their agency’s spending in travel and conference spending. As a result, federal agencies have begun implementing plans to achieve nearly $1.2 billion in travel and conference savings."

The Homeland Security department has already generated more than $13 million in travel cost avoidance, while the State Department has decided to hold the majority of their conferences in government facilities rather than hotels, he wrote. Meanwhile, the Agriculture department has increased its use of video conferencing and saved $47 million in reduced travel costs.

About the Author

Connect with the FCW staff on Twitter @FCWnow.

Featured

  • Defense
    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) reveal concept renderings for the Next NGA West (N2W) campus from the design-build team McCarthy HITT winning proposal. The entirety of the campus is anticipated to be operational in 2025.

    How NGA is tackling interoperability challenges

    Mark Munsell, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s CTO, talks about talent shortages and how the agency is working to get more unclassified data.

  • Veterans Affairs
    Veterans Affairs CIO Jim Gfrerer speaks at an Oct. 10 FCW event (Photo credit: Troy K. Schneider)

    VA's pivot to agile

    With 10 months on the job, Veterans Affairs CIO Jim Gfrerer is pushing his organization toward a culture of constant delivery.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.