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House approves measure to cut conference spending

Apr. 25, 2012 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
Rep. Darrell Issa, above right, listens April 16 as former GSA chief Martha Johnson testifies at a congressional committee hearing. Issa, R-Calif., sponsored a bill that would cut agency travel budgets by 20 percent over fiscal 2010 levels.
Rep. Darrell Issa, above right, listens April 16 as former GSA chief Martha Johnson testifies at a congressional committee hearing. Issa, R-Calif., sponsored a bill that would cut agency travel budgets by 20 percent over fiscal 2010 levels. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images))

The House approved legislation Wednesday to cut agency travel budgets by 20 percent over fiscal 2010 levels.

The DATA Act, sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., also would make federal spending more transparent by requiring agencies to report and post more spending data than they currently do.

Issa has promoted the bill as an important antidote to excessive government spending like what occurred at the General Services Administration in connection with a $822,000 conference in 2010.

"There is no question that the infrastructure and reporting standards needed to ‘follow-the-money' has been lacking," Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a statement. "The GSA travel and conference spending scandal is a perfect case study."

The bill would create a commission tasked with aggregating all agency spending and financial data into one online location. It would require agencies and the commission to report detailed information on all spending and to standardize financial reporting data across the government.

The legislation would also:

Limit agency spending on a single conference to $500,000.

Require agencies to post online all materials and speeches presented by a federal employee, including any photographs or slides.

The Senate on Tuesday also approved a measure that would cut federal conference spending by 20 percent from 2010 levels. The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., was attached to a postal reform bill the Senate is expected to pass Wednesday.

Related reading

http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20120424/DEPARTMENTS07/204240306/1001">Senate approves amendment to cut conference spending (April 24)

http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20120416/DEPARTMENTS07/204160306/1001">GSA calls on officials to repay party expenses (April 16)

http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20120413/DEPARTMENTS07/204130302/1001">GSA scandal referred to Justice for possible criminal charges (April 13)

http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20120402/AGENCY04/204020302/">Emerging GSA scandal brings down top officials (April 2)

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