The General Services Administration released the updated per diem rates for 2016, giving federal employees a little more leeway for meals and lodging when on the road for official business.
The new rates — which go into effect on Oct. 1 — give employees a bit more for lodging and update the meal per diem methodology for the first time since the 1980s.
The new standard rate — which applies in about 2,600 counties in the continental U.S. — allows employees to get reimbursed for $89 a day in lodging and $51 in meals. Some 400 counties have higher reimbursement rates.
After years mired in an economy that can’t seem to get out of sputter mode, many Americans are just beginning to get back on their feet or have given up completely. The federal government isn’t subject to the rules of the real world, however, and can increase its budget whether it has had a good year or not. (Side note: I don’t think it ever has a good year.)
While I don’t have anything against lower-tier federal employees, it’s still taxpayer dollars that pay for these things. My immediate reaction to news like this is to find it distasteful. If the federal bureaucracy had to function like normal people it might be easier. Why not have it “rob Peter to pay Paul” in tough times? Taking salary away from the Congress critters to move elsewhere would be palatable to the non-government working public, and may discourage some of them from hanging around there forever.
Just a suggestion.