GSA announces 2017 per diem lodging rates.
(August 20, 2016) The General Services Administration (GSA) has released the federal per diem lodging rates for FY2017 that will go into effect October 1, 2016. The standard continental United States (CONUS) rate applies to all other locations and increased just $2 from $89 to $91 per night. In Washington’s eight non-standard rates, all except for Seattle, received rate increases ranging two to 11 percent. Seattle summer months will jump 18.8 percent to $240 per night, while the month of May will fall 17.3 percent to $167 because it is no longer being treated as part of the high season. Per diem rates for meals and incidentals remain the same for both CONUS and non-standard locations.
The Department of Defense (DoD) began paying significantly below the GSA per diem rates in 2014 in response to sequestration. These reductions are still in place, and Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA 6th District) has been working to reverse the cuts. He is one of the sponsors of HR 1193, which would prohibit the DoD from reducing the federal per diem for members of the uniformed services or DoD civilian employees.
The GSA also announced the formation of an interagency working group to review the methodology by which geographic boundaries are set for per diem rates. Under current practice, per diem rates are generally determined on a county-by-county basis with a relatively small number of anomalies. It is unclear whether the working group will examine just those anomalies, or whether it will look at moving away from the county-focused approach.
“Government travel is incredibly important to the hotel industry, generating thousands of jobs and billions in travel spending that supports communities around the country,” said Vanessa Sinders, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for AH&LA. “The American Hotel & Lodging Association works closely with the General Services Administration to ensure that lodging per diem rates align with market conditions and also reflect good value for the government. Since the government per diem rates are often used as a guide by other organizations in setting their travel standards it is imperative that we strive to ensure fair and reasonable rates are established.”