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The General Services Administration announced it will freeze per diem rates at current levels for 2013.
Freezing the federal reimbursement rates for lodging, meals and incidentals will save an estimated $20 million in avoided costs in 2013 and help agencies meet the Obama administration's directives to reduce travel costs governmentwide, GSA said in a news release.
The Office of Management and Budget directed agencies to decrease all travel spending in fiscal 2013 by 30 percent compared with fiscal 2010.
"GSA is undergoing a rigorous review process to find ways in which we can streamline agency operations and save money across the government," said acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini in a statement. "By keeping per diem rates at current levels, we are supporting federal agencies in controlling costs and ensuring that taxpayer dollars are used wisely."
The decision appears to signal that GSA has dropped, for now, a controversial proposal to adopt a new methodology for calculating per diems that would have resulted in large decreases.
Travel industry sources told Federal Times last month that GSA was looking at removing costly hotels from the sampling of lodging rates that it analyzes each year when calculating per diems. The proposed method would have led to per diems as much as 30 percent lower in some places than current rates, sources familiar with the proposal said.