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Travel industry defends government travel as Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn tries to reduce costs

The U.S. travel industry releases study promoting government conferences just days after Coburn introduced legislation to put new restrictions on travel expenses.
by Chris Casteel Published: July 27, 2013
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— Two days after Sen. Tom Coburn introduced a bill to reduce the money spent on federal travel, the U.S. travel industry released a study Friday touting the economic benefits of government meetings and conferences.

Government travel for meetings and events had a total economic impact of $24.4 billion in 2011, supported 343,800 U.S. jobs and $14.5 billion in U.S. wages, and contributed $5.5 billion in tax revenue, according to the study commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association.

“We hope these new findings will encourage congressional leaders to re-evaluate proposals to drastically cut government travel budgets across the country,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.

“When conducted responsibly, federal workers who travel for conferences and meetings deliver important services and real value to our nation,” Dow said.

In the wake of recent scandals over lavish government conferences, the concern of many lawmakers is that government spending on conferences hasn't been responsible.

Coburn, R-Muskogee, who has pushed for cuts in government travel for several years, said Wednesday, “Time and time again, taxpayers are frustrated by extravagant and expensive conferences that are exposed after conferences take place.”

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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When conducted responsibly, federal workers who travel for conferences and meetings deliver important services and real value to our nation.”

Roger Dow,
President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association

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