Senate, House Pass Bills Limiting Federal Conference Spending | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Senate, House Pass Bills Limiting Federal Conference Spending

Play associated audio

In the wake of revelations of lavish spending by the federal General Services Administration (GSA), both chambers of Congress are agreeing to cap what federal agencies can spend on conferences.

It's rare for lawmakers in both parties and chambers to agree on anything. But lawmakers across Capitol Hill were outraged to learn the GSA hosted a lavish event in Las Vegas that cost taxpayers more than $800,000. Now, both chambers of Congress have passed bills banning agencies from spending more than $500,000 on a conference. 

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) helped his chamber approve the rule this week.

"I think there's got to be a clear understanding that a public agency cannot have lavish conferences or giveaways or things like that. So I think it's the right thing to do," Cardin says.

As for whether the problem of lavish spending goes beyond the GSA, Cardin says he doesn't think so. 

"We want to see how other agencies are responding," he says. "There's no information that we've had a widespread problem, but I think this amendment makes it clear the standards that have to be met."

The Senate bill will have to be melded with a House-passed version that also includes new reporting requirements for agencies. Government watchdog groups say the legislation will increase transparency through a new board created to oversee federal spending. 

WAMU 88.5

Audiences Get A Modern Look At A 19th Century Opera

Opera as seen through the lens of Google Glass? Wolf Trap is giving audiences the chance to mix technology with Bizet’s classic "Carmen" this month.
NPR

Can You Trust That Organic Label On Imported Food?

A new book claims the organic label can't be trusted, especially on food that's imported. Yet there is a global system for verifying the authenticity of organic food, and it mostly seems to work.
NPR

Democrats Make New Bid To Require Donor Transparency

The latest version of the DISCLOSE Act, which would force donor disclosure on outside organizations that engage in election politics, is facing now-familiar opposition from Republican lawmakers.
NPR

A Plan To Untangle Our Digital Lives After We're Gone

In the digital age, our online accounts don't die with us. A proposed law might determine what does happen to them. But the tech industry warns the measure could threaten the privacy of the deceased.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.