GSA Office of Governmentwide Policy

SEP 21 2000

Mr. S. W. Westbrook
Per Diem, Travel and Transportation
Allowance Committee
Hoffman Building 1, Room 836
2461 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22331-1300
Dear Mr. Westbrook:

This letter is in response to your July 31, 2000, memorandum requesting a waiver of a Federal Travel Regulation (FTR)(41 CFR chapters 300-304) provision.

You state that the Department of Defense (DoD) has spent many years and millions of taxpayer dollars building and upgrading temporary quarters for use by DoD travelers performing temporary duty travel at installations in the United States, and you would like to limit lodging reimbursement for DoD civilians when Government quarters are available to the civilians.

Therefore, you specifically request a waiver of FTR S301-11-.11, which allows Federal travelers to stay in lodging facilities of their choice. You state that you are requesting a waiver to FTR S301-11.11 in order that the Joint Travel Regulation (JTR) may include language that limits lodging reimbursement for DoD civilians performing temporary duty travel at installations in the United States.

You state that JTR language would require employees to check for the availability of Government quarters when performing temporary duty travel at installations in the United Sates but they would not be required to use the Government quarters. However, if Government quarters were available on the installation, and other lodgings were used, the employee's lodging reimbursement would be limited to the Government's quarters cost.

GSA is unable to grant your waiver request at this time, as such a waiver would be Contrary to the statutory language and intent of 5 U.S.C. S591(e).

A review of the legislative history and decisions of the Comptroller General reveal that it was the clear intent of Congress in enacting 5 U.S.C. S5911 (e) that employees not be forced to occupy Government quarters on a rental basis. While your proposal would not force the occupancy of Government quarters, per se, employees would in effect be penalized for not choosing to stay in Government quarters, as their travel Reimbursement would be reduced and they would be forced to pay out of pocket expenses to cover the extra costs of the commercial lodging.

Therefore, this waiver cannot be granted, as it would have the de facto effect of forcing Employees to choose Government quarters, contrary to 5 R.S.C. S5911(e).


//original signed//
William T. Rivers
Travel Management Policy

U.S. General Services Administration
1800 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20405-0002