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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
/articleid/3866468/1/pictures/2168987">Photo - Sen. Tom Coburn <strong> - Oklahoman File Photo</strong>
Sen. Tom Coburn - Oklahoman File Photo

He said his bill, co-authored by four other Republican senators, “will help prevent such egregious spending from happening in the first place while forcing agencies to disclose how much they have spent on conferences.”

The bill would prohibit any conference costing more than $500,000, limit participation at conferences held outside of the United States and require agencies to post the details of their conferences online. The White House budget office also would have to draw up new guidelines for acceptable travel expenses.

The travel industry study says the cost per participant for government conferences was far lower than at private sector conferences. Moreover, it says, canceling conferences costs more in the long run since numerous duplicate meetings must be held “at a greater net cost.”

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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