HAPS PROGRAM AGREEMENT
PROPOSED BYLAWS CHANGES
D-DAY AGAINST RUMSFELD
AFGE DENTAL TRUST PROBLEM
JOINT TRAVEL REGULATION
FREQUENT FLYER MILES
TRANSIT SUBSIDY AGREEMENT
RIGHT TO REPRESENTATION
USE OF GOVERNMENT EQUIPMENT
PAYMENT OF EXPENSES
July 2, 2001
Bush Administration Proposal Would Let Service Members Keep Frequent Flier Miles
The Bush administration will send to Congress this week proposed legislation that allows service members to keep certain promotional items they receive from private companies when traveling on official business, such as airline frequent flier miles. The proposed legislation would lift existing restrictions on the use of items such as "frequent travel programs, upgrades, and access to carrier clubs or facilities" offered by major airlines. "Such items must be obtained under the same terms as provided the general public and must be at no additional cost," according to the legislation, a copy of which was obtained by Inside the Pentagon.
"Normally, items of value received by military members pursuant to official duty belong to the government," states a "sectional analysis" of the bill approved by the administration. "Where the transportation has been obtained for the military member by the government, the ability to obtain private gain through the use of one's official position is extremely limited. Normally, promotional items are of little intrinsic value and the overall costs to the government from tracking, accounting for, and processing such items exceeds all benefits received."
In addition to those affecting military personnel, the proposed legislation would lift restrictions on the use of such promotional items by civilian federal government employees and Foreign Service members. The bill repeals a section of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 dealing with General Services Administration guidelines that encourage "the use of frequent traveler programs to realize cost savings for official travel," the analysis states. The administration views its proposal as a way to ease restrictions on official government travel and make federal employment more attractive by letting officials keep for their own use frequent flier miles and other promotional benefits they accrue while on
government-paid travel. The measure allows government entities to adopt a practice often employed by private industry to reward those whose jobs that require extensive travel, some proponents of the legislation say.
"The administrative expense and labor-intensive burden of accounting for unsolicited items of little intrinsic value is inconsistent with efforts by the federal government to adapt to commercial practices where possible," according to the sectional analysis. Contracts negotiated by the General Services Administration and travel arranged by U.S. Transportation Command "represent the lowest cost fares for the government . . . [and] despite repeated requests, transportation providers will not make the nominal costs of promotional items directly transferable to the government nor will they reduce the cost of transportation by such amounts," it adds. Moreover, the federal government to date has been unable to find a way "to effectively utilize" frequent flier miles benefits.
The legislative proposal would have no impact on the use of the Government Travel Card and would not increase the government's budgetary requirements, the analysis states.
-- Keith J. Costa
Michael S. Martin
Legislative Action Team, FMA Chapter 121
WR-ALC/LYSBE, 380 Richard Ray Blvd Ste 104
Robins AFB, GA 31098-1638
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