Finally both sides agree that spending on federal conferences has gotten out of hand thanks to the lavish event by the GSA which wasn't their first foray into wasting taxpayer dollars. Senator Coburn for years has been trying to cut the budgets of conferences hosted by the Government to no avail:
Coburn has tried unsuccessfully in the past to cut spending on agency conferences. He specifically targeted the U.S. Justice Department after an internal report in 2008 showed that the department spent $312 million over seven years on conferences, including training sessions in Hawaii.It is members of both parties and any self righteous pundit who says it is only Democrats hasn't been around the Government to observe first hand a conference, training, or demonstration that is hosted by the Government. The only reason this amendment was able to pass is the fact that the GSA finally went way overboard instead of just a little overboard as they have in the past. Having seen conferences hosted by the military and GSA up and close personal, this amendment is long past due. In fact, I hope that next year they will get another cut. The budgets for travel to conferences within DoD is a joke. Even when hosted by contractors or associations, it costs the Federal Government a lot to travel to a conference for example at the Disneyland Hotel with the cost of the hotel and everything else.
Went to one that was joint venture between the San Antonio Air Logistics Center and one of the associations run by contractors that cater to the the military. Couldn't believe the lavish spread for lunch. Our son had a football game so no dinner but from the accounts of the people there, it was lavish as well. Know the budget of the depot for the event was pretty large and asked my husband how can they spend our taxpayer dollars on something like this since he was one of the people in charge. He tells me it is to further relations between the contractor and the depot. Rolling eyes!
Dr. Coburn once again is showing why in 2004 we worked so hard as the grassroots to send him to the Senate and why the establishment worked so hard to defeat him starting in the primary. We need more Senators like Dr. Coburn in the US Senate and more amendments like this one.
U.S. Senate passes proposal by Sen. Tom Coburn to cap spending on federal conferences
In the wake of the scandal over an agency's lavish Las Vegas conference, senators show some solidarity with U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn on his effort to cut taxpayer funding of federal gatherings.
| Published: April 25, 2012
WASHINGTON— Spurred by the scandal over a federal agency spending $823,000 on a training conference in Las Vegas, the U.S. Senate approved an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn on Tuesday to cap spending on conferences and require all of the information to be posted on the Internet.
Coburn's amendment passed without dissent to legislation reforming the U.S. Postal Service.
Coburn, R-Muskogee, said his proposal could save up to $65 million a year and would allow Congress and the public “to get some visibility on what we're spending on conferences.”
Agencies would be required to post quarterly reports on the Internet, with numerous details about their conferences, including explanations of why they were needed.
Coburn said Tuesday that the federal government spends a minimum of $500 million per year on conferences.
Under his proposal, an agency's budget for conferences would be 80 percent of its 2010 budget for conferences. Spending could not top $500,000 for a single conference under most circumstances. No more than 50 people from an agency could be sent to an international conference.
The recent eruption on Capitol Hill over the General Services Administration's 2010 conference in Las Vegas has made lawmakers more sympathetic to Coburn's cause. His amendment was praised on the Senate floor on Tuesday by a Republican, a Democrat and an Independent.
“Unfortunately, the excessive — really outrageous — spending by GSA on the conference in Las Vegas has brought the whole area of federal spending on conferences into the public klieg lights, and I've reached the conclusion that we're spending too much,” said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut.
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