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by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | April 29, 2016

The House Armed Services Committee has rolled back per-diem rate cuts instituted by the federal Department of Defense for uniform and civilian employees on long-term travel, or temporary duty, which had been instituted in December 2014. Championed by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the amendment will restore the per-diem rates to the levels they were at before the cuts.

"We applaud the House Armed Services Committee for passing an important amendment out of committee to restore a reasonable approach to travel policy," said Craig Kalkut, AH&LA's vice president of government affairs. "On behalf of the U.S. hotel industry, and particularly the many hotels that cater to military bases and communities, we commend Congressman Mark Takai on his steadfast leadership in seeking to put an end to these ill-conceived cuts to travel per-diem rates for Defense Department personnel. These cuts have made it challenging for hotels to provide appropriate levels of service to military travelers, caused hardships to workers and, in certain cases, actually increased costs to the military while jeopardizing its ability to adequately perform critical functions."  

According to the AH&LA, the Department of Defense policy damaged the country's military readiness and actually cost more in taxpayer money instead of saving it in certain cases. Further, the association argued, the cuts had imposed hardships on military personnel and made it difficult for hotels catering to military communities to serve Defense Department workers. AH&LA helped lead a broad coalition of industry and employee groups to encourage members of Congress to repeal the per-diem cuts through an extensive campaign of grassroots outreach and meetings on Capitol Hill.