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Analysis: More GSA-Fueled Spending Crackdowns, Fewer Bonuses For Federal Employees

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Tom Shoop, GovExec editor-in-chief

There's about to be a fresh crackdown on federal government spending in the wake of the scandal at the General Services Administration over a lavish conference in  Las Vegas. The Office of Management and Budget has ordered the review on travel, conferences, car fleets and even property.

Tom Shoop, Editor-in-Chief at Government Executive, talks with WAMU 88.5 Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey about the latest in this ongoing saga.

On the new effort to police government agency spending: "They've gotten very specific about saying agencies need to spend 30 percent less on travel next year compared to what they spend in Fiscal Year 2010, and have much tighter scrutiny on conference spending," Shoop says. 

On this week's report showing that bonuses for federal employees are down: "An analysis showed that spending on bonuses was down $43 million last year to $139 million," says Shoop. "Certainly, that's partly a result of the administration saying we want a lower percentage of your spending to go to bonuses."

On whether that's affecting employees' decisions on whether to stay in government or leave: "I think it definitely is. It sort of adds fuel to the fire which has been going on for years: the federal pay freeze, the uncertainty around the budget, whether or not there would be government shutdowns," Shoop says. "OPM saw a pretty big increase in the number federal employees who applied for retirement last  year. Some of that is the demographic trend, but some is no doubt due to this kind of uncertainty."

On House Speaker John Boehner's warning of another looming showdown due to a fight on the debt ceiling next year: "From a morale perspective, that's one of the worst things that could happen," Boehner says. "Because that's a situation where employees get thrown off the job, and don't know when they're going to get paid or how things might turn out." 

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