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The association community faced down a potentially devastating amendment that would have limited federal employees from attending meetings and conferences, but ASAE said this is not the end on this topic.
As the Senate was poised to vote on the continuing resolution, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) proposed amendment #67, which would have stopped federal agencies from sending more than 25 employees to any meetings or conferences in the U.S. Coburn offered the amendment after reports last year of inappropropriate spending at meetings by the Government Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
To defeat the amendment this week, ASAE, which was conducting its annual fly-in, sent 200 members to Capitol Hill to lobby against Coburn's measure, among other topics. ASAE also inspired more than 350 associations across the country to sign onto a letter in support of federal employees' attendance at meetings. The association also conducted a social media campaign, as well.
The continuing resolution eventually passed the Senate, 73-26, without Coburn's amendment.
ASAE public policy VP Jim Clarke, CAE, said in a letter to members, "we can't stop our work. We may have won this fight, but we have heard this issue very well could come up again in this week's nonbinding budget resolution or in future spending legislation."
ASAE is collecting stories about associations' conferences and meetings that government employee attend "so that we are armed with specific examples of conferences that would be affected by proposals to arbitrarily restrict federal employee attendance at association meetings," Clarke said. If you wish to contribute your association's example, send it to email@example.com.