Federal travel spending is down about 17 percent from the same time last year, according to federal data.
Travel spending in fiscal 2014 through March is about $2.8 billion, compared to almost $3.4 billion through March of fiscal 2013, as measured by data from the General Services Administration’s SmartPay charge card program, which covers more than 2.5 million card holders across the government.
Travel spending across the government already fell 18 percent in fiscal 2013—from $8.5 billion to about $6.9 billion—as agencies deal with tight budgets and with greater travel restrictions.
In May 2012, the Office of Management and Budget released a memo directing agencies to reduce travel spending by 30 percent compared with 2010 levels and to maintain those levels through 2016. Agencies also have to report annually on any conference spending in excess of $100,000, and employees must seek senior management approval for conference spending.
Government funding legislation passed in January codified the rules into law and required agencies to notify their inspectors general of any conference that costs more than $20,000 and provide the IG with details of the conference.
Agencies that have seen the biggest drops so far this year include:
■The Department of Homeland Security, which has spent $206 million on travel – compared to $334 million during the same time last year – a drop of about 38 percent.
■The Social Security Administration’s travel spending 33 percent – from $4 million in fiscal 2013 to $2.7 million during the same time in 2014.
■The Housing and Urban Development Department’s travel spending has fallen from almost $5 million in fiscal 2013 to only $3.3 million during the same time of fiscal 2014 – a drop of 43 percent.