Last July, there were two bills introduced into the US House of Representatives to limit federal spending and attendance of face-to-face meetings by governmental employees. The first bill, HR 313 is sitting in the Senate, while the second HR 2643, has not left the House floor. 

Here’s the latest update on the two bills and what we can all learn from them

HR Bill 313: Passed the House on July 31, 2013 and has not been approved by the Senate. 

The Government Spending Accountability Act of 2013 requires that each federal agency post on its public website detailed information on employee presentations at conferences.

This Act limits the amount that any agency may spend to support at a single conference to a maximum of $500,000.  It also requires the agency head to report to the appropriate congressional committees on any waiver granted and the justification for a spend over $500K. .

It also limits agency travel expenses for FY 2014-18 to 70% of the aggregate amount of such expenses for FY 2010. 

HR Bill 2643: Introduced in the House on July 10, 2013; no action taken. 

Stay in Place, Cut the Waste Act of 2013 requires the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to:

  1. Review and report on the extent to which federal agencies have reduced travel expenses by the use of video conferencing pursuant to Executive Order 13589 and OMB Memorandum of December 12, 2012
  2. Develop a plan for fiscal years beginning with FY 2017 to use video conferencing to achieve the lesser of a 50% reduction in federal agency travel expenses below FY 2013 levels and
  3. Rescind amounts made available for travel expenses that are proposed for reduction under this Act.

Key Event Planning Takeaways: 

  1. Post as much as you can on your website or in the cloud. By posting your speakers’ presentations on SlideShare or capturing them on video to be shared via a webinar or webcast, you are showing transparency of your meeting and potentially converting virtual attendees to real ones.
  2. Realize that organizations are going to have a limit to their conference spending.Rather than having someone selling advertising, another exhibit space and yet another the conference itself, have one individual go deep with each prospective corporation. They all have budgets, just like you, and many budgets have not increased over the years.
  3. Travel expense approval is probably going to go down, not up. With the onset of less expensive video conferencing alternatives and with hotel and airfare costs going up, it makes sense to the C-Suite that some meetings should be virtual. While this may be true in some instances, face-to-face meetings are still very important.With this in mind, consider the following: 

    Hold regional meetings where attendees are within 3 hours of the conference.

    Determine which meetings can be eliminated, virtual, hybrid or face-to-face. Fight for those that should be face-to-face and work with attendees to find reasonable travel solutions.

    Become aware of the talking points of the Economic Impact Study of Meetings by CIC and MPI’s initiative on Meetings Move Us Forward. Share these results with your boss, co-workers, partners and attendees.

SmartSource Rentals, a meeting equipment supplier, can assist you in making your next face-to-face meeting a smashing success. Give them a call today to learn more about their audio visual rental offerings!