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by Lisa A. Grimaldi | August 10, 2011

U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) have introduced a bill that would cut the federal government's annual travel budget -- currently about $15 billion -- by 75 percent. The measure is part of the Federal Workforce Reduction and Reform Act of 2011, which aims to reduce federal spending by more than $600 billion over the next decade. The bill also calls for extending the current pay freeze on federal civilian employees' salaries by three years, freezing bonuses for three more years and trimming the size of the federal contracted work force by 15 percent over the next 10 years. In response to the proposed cuts, Geoff Freeman, executive vice president for the U.S. Travel Association, told M&C, "We are closely monitoring the proposed 75 percent cut in government travel by Senators Coburn and Hatch. What they are proposing makes for a good sound bite but the message that government travel is largely unnecessary does more harm than good." He added, "Business travel to local communities creates jobs, stimulates local economies and helps get the economy back on track. Arbitrarily cutting the majority of government travel will do none of that. What we need is for Washington to enact smart policies that encourage economic growth, not stifle it."