April 11, 2013
As ordered reported by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on March 20, 2013
H.R. 313 would require federal agencies to post on their public Web sites any information presented by federal employees at a conference. In addition, agencies would be required to provide quarterly reports to the Congress listing any conference, meeting, or event employees attended that involved travel expenses of more than $10,000 over a three-month period. Under the bill, attendance at international conferences would be limited to 50 federal employees that are stationed in the United States unless a waiver is granted by the State Department. The bill also would limit agencies’ authority, over the next five years, to obligate funds for travel expenses (other than military travel) to 70 percent of the amount spent on travel in 2010. Finally, under the legislation, agencies would be prohibited from spending more than $500,000 to support a single conference.
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 313 would have no significant net impact on the budget over the 2014-2018 period. We expect that there would be some minor, additional administrative costs for agencies to prepare reports on travel expenses and to post materials on their Web sites. Civilian agencies spent about $6.5 billion on travel-related expenses in fiscal year 2010 and about $5.5 billion in fiscal year 2011. By limiting the ability of agencies to obligate funds for travel costs over the 2014-2018 period to 70 percent of the amount spent in 2010, the legislation would probably result in a shift of spending to other activities. This provision might also lead to higher acquisition and leasing costs for additional equipment, such as telecommunications technologies. Thus, CBO expects that such a limitation would not result in significantly lower total spending by federal agencies unless total budgetary resources available to agencies to pay for administrative costs are reduced. Any net change in spending that would result from implementing H.R. 313 would depend on the amounts provided in future appropriation acts.
The bill could affect direct spending by agencies not funded through annual appropriations; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO estimates, however, that any net change in spending by those agencies would not be significant. Enacting H.R. 313 would not affect revenues.
H.R. 313 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.