by Michael J. Shapiro | May 17, 2012

Several industry organizations, led by ASAE, are urging members to contact U.S. congressional representatives to ensure the industry's views are taken into account with respect to legislation affecting meetings. Last week, the Obama administration delivered a directive to federal agencies to cut travel budgets for fiscal year 2013 by 30 percent and cap spending at $500,000 for government-sponsored conferences. These restrictions apply to government travel and conference spending, notes ASAE, and don't have the broader implications for private-sector/association meetings expressed in earlier amendments that previously cleared the House and Senate. However, industry organizations remain concerned that the language in these amendments will make their way into other legislation. To protect nongovernmental meetings and conferences, ASAE, PCMA and other industry organizations are urging members to write to their representatives and request the following specific changes to the amendments:

1. Change the definition of a conference to apply only to government-sponsored meetings as intended, and not include meetings and conferences held by associations and other private sector organizations.

2. Strike the provision in the amendment that restricts agencies from attending more than one conference held by a private organization per fiscal year.

ASAE has posted a web template for sending personalized messages to Congress at:

Questions can be directed to ASAE at [email protected] and to PCMA at [email protected].