Comments on H.R. 5722, A Bill To Amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1954]

Gao ID: B-197051 January 30, 1980

Comments were provided on H.R. 5722, a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 to provide that the mileage allowance used for Federal employees shall also be used for determining the mileage allowance deduction for trade or business expenses (section 1), and to amend title 5 of the United States Code to revise certain provisions relating to mileage and per diem expenses of Federal employees (section 2). No comments were made on section 1, which primarily concerns the General Services Administration and the Internal Revenue Service. Section 2 would make the process for setting travel rates more responsive to changes in travel costs, and in turn help remedy inequities faced by employees who must travel. The existing law must be amended periodically to recognize inflation when the maximum authorizations become inadequate to cover travel costs. H.R. 5722 would delete specified rates in the law and allow them to be set by GSA through an administrative process; these rates would become effective 30 days after submission of a report to Congress unless they were disapproved by a resolution of either house of Congress. Continuation of the past practice of adjusting the maximum per diem every few years would undoubtedly constrain travel costs when compared to the more responsive adjustment method contemplated by H.R. 5722. However, when the maximum rates fall behind reasonable costs, making travel reimbursement unfair for Federal employees, a price is paid in lowered morale of employees.

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