Today, Congressman Joe Walsh's (IL-08) H.R. 4631, the bi-partisan Government Spending Accountability (GSA) Act passed the House of Representatives by voice vote.
"I introduced the GSA Act," said Walsh, "because, as stewards of taxpayer dollars, it is our responsibility to ensure that those hard-earned taxpayer dollars are not wasted on lavish conferences and posh junkets. How dare we ask hard working taxpayers to tighten their belts and make tough decisions, when for years the GSA and other federal agencies have thrown away taxpayer dollars on lavish conferences like this?"
The GSA's Western Regions Conference in Las Vegas cost taxpayers more than $800,000. The agency paid more than $44 a head for breakfast, $7,000 in sushi at a networking reception, $3,200 for a session with a mind reader, and $75,000 to build bicycles. It took 11 months from the time the GSA Administrator was briefed by the Inspector General until the American public learned of this gross misuse of taxpayer dollars.
"The bi-partisanship displayed here shows what Congress can accomplish when both parties come together to tackle reckless spending. We need to come together to fix Washington and start cultivating some respect for hard-earned taxpayer dollars.
"The GSA Act will help change the culture of waste in Washington and put us on a path to a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. The days of wasting tax payer dollars on fancy junkets for government bureaucrats are over."
The GSA Act requires that every quarter federal agencies publish an open report that details every conference for which the agency paid travel and expenses. The bill also limits the amount that an agency can spend on any one conference to $500,000 and on travel annually to 70% of the amount expended on travel in 2010. Walsh will work with Senate leadership for swift consideration of the measure.