Reinventing Travel

The defense authorization bill signed by President Clinton yesterday also included a series of reforms in government travel policies that apply to all federal employees.

The measures contained in the defense bill include a requirement that employees use corporate charge cards to pay for travel expenses and the repeal of a 1939 law requiring that all long-distance telephone calls be certified by supervisors first as being in the interest of the government.

At a White House ceremony, Vice President Gore called the travel reforms "the biggest change in government travel rules in 40 years."

For years, the General Accounting Office has reported on the high costs associated with federal travel regulations. Last year, for example, the Defense Department spent $5 billion on travel expenses, and an additional 30 percent of that just to administer its travel system.

"This bill finally fixes the underlying legislative problems so that all agencies can reinvent their travel systems," Gore said. "This will save taxpayers about $800 million per year, while at the same time improving government travel services. It does this by adopting the best travel practices in the private sector."

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