GSA to Eliminate Per Diem Allocation for Conferences
Today, we released the fiscal year (FY) 2014 travel per diem rates, which will take effect on October 1st, 2013. Each year, these rates are set by law for the Continental United States. The rates are based on local market costs and provide caps, or the maximum amounts, that can be reimbursed to federal employees on lodging and meals while on official travel. It also provides agencies with the policies and tools needed to reduce costs. This year, federal per diem rates are 5 percent below the average daily rate of the market.
As we set government-wide per diem rates for the year ahead, we are also working to improve travel regulations. These improvements will enable us to reduce travel costs while also ensuring that agencies can continue to perform their critical missions. For example, in FY 2014, the federal government will save an estimated $10 million by eliminating the Conference Lodging Allowance, which allowed federal travelers to spend 25 percent above per diem rates for conferences.
These actions are a part of GSA’s ongoing commitment to responsible spending. In fact, last year, the agency saved $28 million dollars in travel alone, compared to FY 2010 levels. We achieved this by revising our own internal travel and conference policies. Just this month, GSA announced the award of its FY 2014 City Pair Program, which offers significantly discounted airfares for federal government travelers and saves agencies an estimated $2.2 billion annually in airline fares.
In recent years, the Administration has taken aggressive steps to cut travel and conference spending. We have implemented strict policies and controls to ensure that all travel and conference expenditures are cost-effective and advancing the goals of federal agencies. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released clear guidance directing agencies to reduce travel costs by 30 percent. As a result, agencies have lowered their spending on travel by approximately $2 billion to date. At the same time, there are circumstances in which travel is necessary. Federal employees routinely have to travel to serve the American people. This means fulfilling responsibilities that range from inspecting airplanes and airlines and ensuring that they are operating safely, to performing criminal investigations that span across multiple jurisdictions, to assisting victims of natural disasters. For many public servants, travel is a necessary part of their jobs. As each agency reviews its travel and conference-related activities, each agency must ensure that any spending serves the American people as efficiently and effectively as possible.
For more information on FY 2014 travel per diem rates, please visit www.gsa.gov/perdiem.