Last week, legislation was introduced in the House that would have major implications for government travel to association meetings.

H.R. 2810, the “Stay in Place, Cut the Waste” Act, calls for agencies to cut travel budgets to as much as 50 percent of 2015 levels by using videoconferencing as a substitute for face-to-face meetings. Introduced by Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), the bill has 11 cosponsors, including seven Democrats. This legislation was also introduced in the 113th Congress by Congressman Fitzpatrick but was not marked up in committee.

In meetings and in comments to the House Oversight Committee and various congressional offices, ASAE has emphasized the importance of face to face meetings. In a global survey of 2,300 Harvard Business Review subscribers, 95% said that face-to-face meetings are both key to successful long-term relationships and to building stronger relationships.

In a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), ASAE President and CEO John Graham, FASAE, CAE, said, “We believe that it is time to take a step back and analyze the effects existing restrictions have had on federal travel, and whether there is a need for additional restrictions. From our perspective, our members have experienced increased difficulty in the ability of associations to interact with federal officials in a way that is necessary to help keep the role of government in its proper place. We do not believe that it is in the interest of anyone to isolate federal officials from those they are regulating, and our experience is that this is indeed what is happening.”