Number:  112-21
Date:  September 13, 2012 

House Passes H.R. 4631,
Government Spending Accountability Act of 2012

On September 11, 2012, the House passed by voice vote H.R. 4631, the Government Spending Accountability (GSA) Act of 2012.  

Following are provisions of interest to SSA. 

Reporting of Conference Materials

  • Would require SSA to post on its public website detailed information on any presentation made by any SSA employee at any conference.  SSA would be required to post the prepared text of any verbal presentation made; and any visual, digital, video, or audio materials presented, including photographs, slides, and audio-visual recordings.

Limits on Conference Spending

  • Would prevent SSA from spending more than $500,000 on any conference.
  • Would prevent SSA from paying travel expenses to attend an international conference for more than 50 employees who are stationed in the United States.

Conference Spending Reporting Requirements

  • Would require SSA to post on its public website every quarter a report on each conference for which travel expenses are paid during that quarter.  The report must include:
    • itemized expenses paid, including travel and any expenditures to otherwise support the conference;
    • name of the primary sponsor;
    • location of the conference;
    • date of the conference; and
    • brief explanation of how the participation of SSA employees advanced SSA’s mission;
    • the title of any employee, or any individual not a Federal employee, whose travel expenses or other conference expenses were paid by SSA;
    • the total number of individuals whose travel expenses or other conference expenses were paid by SSA; and
    •  if SSA is the primary sponsor of the conference to include in the report a statement:
      • describing the cost of selecting the venue;
      • describing why the location was selected, including a justification;
      • demonstrating the cost efficiency of the location;
      • providing a cost benefit analysis of holding a conference rather than conducting a teleconference;
      • describing any financial support or other assistance from a private entity used to pay or defray costs; and, including a certification from the Commissioner of Social Security that such payment involved no conflict of interest.

  • Would require that the report be in searchable electronic format and remain on the SSA website for at least 5 years after posting.

Limits on Travel Expenses

  • Would prevent SSA during fiscal years 2013 through 2017 from making or obligating travel expenses in an aggregate amount greater than 70 percent of the amount of travel expenses in fiscal year 2010.

  • Would require OMB to determine by December 31, 2012 what expenses constitute travel expenses.