GSA Freezes Per Diem Rates, Maintains Existing Methodology - Business Travel News

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GSA Freezes Per Diem Rates, Maintains Existing Methodology

August 14, 2012 - 04:00 PM ET

By Michael B. Baker

The U.S. General Services Administration for the 2013 fiscal year froze lodging and meal per diem rates at current levels. GSA reportedly had been considering a new methodology that would have taken upper upscale hotel rates out of the equation and significantly cut lodging per diems in key major cities.

The U.S. Travel Association, American Hotel & Lodging Association and several other travel industry representatives had been lobbying aggressively against a methodology change, saying it would effectively price those traveling at per diem rates—which also includes many private corporations traveling on government business—out of many major city centers.

GSA said freezing per diem rates would provide about $20 million in cost avoidance during the 2013 fiscal year and help achieve the 30 percent travel spending decrease compared with FY 2010 ordered by the Obama Administration via a memorandum from the Office of Management and Budget. "By keeping per diem rates at current levels, we are supporting federal agencies in controlling costs and ensuring that taxpayer dollars are used wisely," according to GSA acting administrator Dan Tangherlini.

The U.S. government's fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

U.S. Travel president and CEO Roger Dow in a letter to members today claimed the decision "was reached because so many industry leaders sent a clear message that travel is an essential tool for the government and critical to local economies."

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