Common Ground profiles members of opposing parties who are working together to advance issues important to hoteliers.
The General Services Administration sets the per diem rates for the lower 48 Continental United States (CONUS). The per diem rates establish an allowance for federal employees to cover lodging, meals, and incidental expenses incurred while on official travel. In the CONUS, the per diem rates for the fiscal year (FY) are based on the average daily rate (ADR) reported by local contractors within a county, ZIP code, or locality. The standard rate for per diem reimbursements applies to 85% of counties in the CONUS. Federal travelers account for a substantial portion of business in many hotel markets. Given the negative impact of stay-at-home orders and other government mandates during the past year and a half, fair and adequate federal stipends are integral to the industry’s recovery.
In March, U.S. Representatives Bill Posey (R-FL-8) and Charlie Crist (D-FL-3) reintroduced H.R. 2104., the Restored, Equitable, Coronavirus Adjusted Lodging (RECAL) Act of 2021, which would require the GSA to take into consideration the economic impact of the coronavirus when setting future per diem rates for federal travel. Later in June, U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate. In total, both bills are co-sponsored by 20 members. These bipartisan pieces of legislation would require the GSA to stabilize future per diem rates to account for the pandemic’s impact.
AAHOA has extensively advocated in Congress, the White House, and federal agencies to support the stabilization of per diem rates at pre-pandemic levels. When America’s hoteliers speak, Congress listens. Democratic and Republican members in both chambers of Congress have rallied to assist the travel and tourism industry during the past year and we thank them for their bipartisan support. In early August, the GSA announced that it will maintain the per diem rates at current levels in FY2022 beginning October 1. The standard per diem rate of $155 includes $96 for lodging and $59 for meals and incidental expenses.