Deficit Commission wants federal travel budget slashed, announces it while Obama on expensive foreign trip

President Obama's deficit commission announced today that it wants the federal government to slash its official travel budget as part of the effort to close the federal deficit.

Meanwhile, Obama is winging his way across Asia on a 12-day official trip that arrived earlier today in Seoul, South Korea. Apparently the president's commission failed to coordinate its announcement today with the president because here is recommendation six:

“Cut federal travel budget. – One of the first things companies cut when faced with budget problems is travel.  Yet, despite record deficits, government expenditures for travel have grown by leaps and bounds. For example, in FY2001, spent approximately $9 billion on travel for mission-related business around the world. In FY2006, that figure reached just over $14 billion—an increase of 56 percent.

“Some of the recent increases may be due to fluctuations in oil prices and the demands of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even so, the fact remains that year after year, agencies continue to spend more on travel than they project (both before and after 9/11). Furthermore, the fact that travel spending is rising at such a rapid pace would seem to be counterintuitive, considering that the last decade has witnessed remarkable improvements in telecommunications technology (including video conferencing, web-casting, etc.) that should have decreased the need for in person face-to-face meetings and onsite visits.

“The Department of Energy (DOE) announced this year that it will adopt the suggestion to reduce travel costs by increasing reliance on video teleconferencing when practical. To fund the upfront capital costs associated with this effort, DOE will plan to reduce travel budgets by 5 percent versus its 2009 travel expenditures. The savings from this reduction will be used to assist the Office of the Chief Information Officer in implementing a strategy of enhanced reliance on video telecommunications to bring down travel costs in 2011 and beyond.

“By increasing reliance on computer web cameras and other video teleconferencing equipment, including instant chatting, the Department will reduce the need for some business travel. This will yield savings not only in terms of travel dollars, but also in travel time for federal workers and contractors, as well as positive externalities of increased safety from eliminating unnecessary travel and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. DOE estimates this policy change will save $3 million in FY 2011.”

 

Applying DOE’s policy to all federal agencies (excluding the Postal Service) would save $4.22 billion over ten years.

 

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Homeless swept from Polk Street alley despite lack of shelter beds

On one of the first rainy days of the fall season, San… Continue reading

SF prosecutors ‘step aside’ as federal case moves to trial in Kate Steinle shooting

A years-long legal battle that garnered the attention of President Donald Trump… Continue reading

Rooftop park the latest point of conflict between Muni and Central Subway contractor

Bills, bills, bills. They’re a common household headache, but on the $1.6… Continue reading

New skyscraper to rise in city’s skyline

A proposed 800-foot tower could soon rise in downtown San Francisco’s rapidly… Continue reading

Kamala Harris drops out of presidential race

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris suspended her presidential run Tuesday, according to two… Continue reading

Most Read