I know everyone is focused on the fact that 850,000 Government workers are sitting at home (my daughter for one), but know that they worked hard to get you a better Per Diem which took effect the day they were furloughed. Of course, the DoD civilians got back to work Monday and I don’t blame the SECDEF for ordering them back. The essential ones who were required to work said “wait a minute, you mean that Congress is going to pay the ones who weren’t working? What are we doing here?!” I wish they would just order them all back to work now that they are all going to get paid (eventually) for all this time off.
Anyway, back to the story from the Washington Post. Apparently, after the GSA Convention travesty, the GSA froze Per Diem for a year to figure out if they were giving too much Per Diem to certain cities, like Las Vegas. The conclusion was that no, the amounts were appropriate, but it revealed a few facts to me. First of all, is that the hotel Per Diem is based upon a 5% discount from the average market rate. No wonder it is hard to find Gov’t rates in some cities! If they don’t need the business, then why lower rates for military/ Government? Secondly, the effort by the GSA to exclude some of the higher priced, luxury hotels in order to lower Per Diem was fought vigorously by the hotel trade industry. For one, I am glad since sometimes those nicer hotels are the only ones remotely close to where I am performing duty. Yongsan in Korea is a prime example.
So the conclusion is that Per Diem will actually decrease in a few select areas such as D.C., but in general will increase. I find that the GSA Per Diem is always a little behind the times and have already experienced some difficulties as hotels raise their rates, but Per Diem stays the same. You can read the full article by Lisa Rein here.
Of course, to use the Per Diem, they have to raise the current restrictions on travel…