Crackdown on conferences clears Senate

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. Charles Dharapak/AP

The Senate on Tuesday voted to curb agency spending on conferences and to limit the number of employees from a single agency who can attend.

An amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., was approved by voice vote and attached to a larger U.S. Postal Service reform bill. A similar provision has been added to the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, which the House is scheduled to vote on Wednesday.

Coburn called the amendment a “first step in comprehensive conference and transparency reform.” It would cap the amount that could be spent on any conference at $500,000 (except when an agency is the primary sponsor) and require all conference expenses to be posted online. Agencies could shell out no more than 80 percent of what they spent on conferences in 2010, according to a Coburn statement. No more than 50 employees from a single agency would be allowed to attend international meetings.

The crackdown also would allow nonfederal foundations and other parties to finance a conference as long as they are publicly listed and vetted for conflicts of interest. Outside sponsors would be limited to one conference per year. Details on conferences would have to be posted quarterly and include a rationale for the event linked to the agency’s mission.

“Congress has finally said ‘the party’s over’ when it comes to conference spending,” Coburn said. “We have seen scandal after scandal because Congress has failed to do oversight. The purpose of oversight is to prevent scandals, not respond to scandals.”

Coburn said his reforms could save $65 million a year.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

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

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

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