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Vote Alert

NTU urges Senators to vote “YES” on Amendment #2060 to S. 1789.

April 19, 2012

NTU urges Senators to vote “YES” on Amendment #2060 to S. 1789. Offered by Senator Coburn (R-OK), this amendment would provide much-needed transparency, accountability, and limitations on government-sponsored conferences.

Amendment #2060 would shine a light on the federal conference planning process and set responsible guidelines to ensure that taxpayer funds are spent wisely. The provision requires that information regarding any conferences in the previous quarter be posted on an agency’s website for the public to review important details, such as the cost, location, and attendance. The amendment also sets spending caps and allows non-federal sources to give outside financial support (provided such sponsors are listed publicly and there is no conflict of interest), saving more than $65 million each year.

Recent revelations regarding the lavish conferences and parties thrown by the General Services Administration (GSA), an agency that states part of its mission is to develop “government-wide cost-minimizing policies,” have brought attention to the at times out-of-control spending habits of unaccountable officials. Though taxpayers have been shocked and outraged at the $800,000 tab of the 2010 Las Vegas bash and thousands of dollars spent on private parties, this is not a new problem unique to GSA. Between 2000 and 2006, the federal government spent at least $2 billion on conferences with little disclosure or strict oversight.

The millions of taxpayers who have foregone vacations and other amenities as they struggle to make ends meet deserve better than a federal government that wastes money on over-the-top conferences. When faced with growing deficits and a difficult economy, extravagant rewards and meetings at high-end resorts shouldn’t just be the first spending to go – it should never have happened in the first place. This is one easy spending cut Congress should make immediately.

Roll call votes on Amendment #2060 to S. 1789 will be included in our annual Rating of Congress and a “YES” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.

If you have any questions, please contact NTU Federal Affairs Manager Nan Swift at (703) 683-5700