Frequent flier legislation passes Senate committee

An amendment to the Defense authorization bill (S. 1155) allowing military personnel and federal workers to keep the frequent flier miles they earn while traveling on the government's dime, was approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee Friday. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., sponsored the amendment along with Sen. John Warner, R-Va. In August Warner introduced S. 1369, a Senate bill that would have extended the benefit to federal employees. The Defense authorization amendment would allow military personnel, foreign service members, their families and others who travel on official government business to keep their frequent flier miles. "Soldiers, sailors, pilots, and Marines are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, prepared to go into harm's way," Lieberman explained. "Letting them take advantage of frequent flier programs--which cost the taxpayer absolutely nothing--is a small gesture, but one that can mean a lot for morale." The Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-355) prohibits federal employees from accepting promotional items they receive while traveling at government expense. Those items included frequent flier miles, upgrades and access to carrier clubs or facilities. "The 1994 ban was intended to prevent employees from selectively traveling in order to obtain perks," Lieberman said. "And it encouraged agencies to use frequent flier mileage returned to them by employees to reduce their official travel costs. But the ban has not resulted in significant cost savings and has, in fact, saddled agencies with the additional burden of keeping track of frequent flier mileage." Several legislators have argued that allowing federal workers to keep their frequent flier miles would help federal retention and recruitment efforts. On July 30, the House passed H.R. 2456, a bill introduced by Reps. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and Connie Morella, R-Md., that would allow federal workers to keep earned miles as long as they were obtained under the same terms as provided to the general public and cost the government no extra money. "The time has come for us to recognize that the current prohibition on frequent flier benefits is unfair to our federal workforce as well as unnecessary for good government," Lieberman said. "In fact, by making these benefits available to government workers, we will help make federal service more competitive with the private sector." The amendment now awaits a vote on the Senate floor.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.