|Sponsor||Rep. Farenthold, Blake|
|Committee||Oversight and Government Reform|
|Date||July 31, 2013 (113th Congress, 1st Session)|
|Staff Contact||David Smentek|
On Wednesday, July 31, 2013, the House will consider H.R. 313, the Government Spending Accountability Act of 2013, under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on January 18, 2013 by Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) and referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote.
H.R. 313 requires each federal agency to post on its public website detailed information on employee presentations at agency conferences. This includes prepared text from any verbal presentation as well as any visual, digital, video, or audio materials presented. It also sets a $500,000 cap on the amount of money that can be spent by an agency for a single conference. However, agency heads can waive this limitation if they can make the determination that a higher cost is justified. In addition, agencies can pay for the travel expenses of no more than 50 U.S.-based employees to attend international conference, with an exception that specifies greater attendance is in national interest. This legislation also requires each agency to publish quarterly reports on each conference in which the agency paid travel expenses, which would be publicly available on the agency’s website.
Finally, this legislation also limits agency travel expenses to 70% of the aggregate amount of expenses for FY2010 for the five-year period of FY2014-FY2018. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is responsible for establishing guidelines for determining what constitutes travel expenses. Military travel expenses would be exempt.
In 2010, the General Services Administration (GSA) spent approximately $800,000 on a conference in Las Vegas, Nevada and thousands more on parties related to the event. According to the National Taxpayers’ Union, between 2000 and 2006, the federal government spent $2 billion on conferences with minimal oversight and a disclosure process that lacked transparency. This legislation is an attempt to reduce wasteful federal spending on conferences and to improve transparency.
Similar legislation passed the House in the 112th Congress by a voice vote.
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 313 would have no significant net impact on the budget over the 2014-2018 period.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.