Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

March 18 2013

Federal Budget Cuts Cancel More Meetings

By David McMillin, Staff Writer

budgetcut_newsSequestration is suspending another event on the meetings industry’s calendar.

Plans for the National Defense Transportation Association Forum & Expo, scheduled to be held in San Antonio from September 7 - 11, have been suspended due to the federal budget cuts that went into effect in March.

“As a result of sequestration, funds are not available for government/military travel and participation in events,” Kenneth R. Wkyle, President, NDTA, wrote in a letter announcing the cancellation. “Opportunities for training, knowledge sharing and information exchange are essential for our success. Sequestration removes these opportunities and makes it impossible for NDTA to continue with our Forum.”

Earlier this month, the General Services Administration also cancelled the GSA Training and Expo 2013, citing a challenging climate of budget cuts as the primary reason.

As meeting planners and suppliers alike continue to follow the conversations in the nation’s capitol, these recent cancellations highlight the fact that there will not be a quick fix for these budget cuts. The longer it takes to find a remedy, the more important it is for the meeting industry to prepare for the potential for additional cancellations.

“While some of the dire predictions of long lines at TSA checkpoints and extended delays at border entry points have not come true yet, it’s clear that the meetings industry will continue to feel the trickle-down impact of what’s happening in Washington,” Deborah Sexton, President and CEO, PCMA, says. “This reinforces the need to promote the power of face-to-face meetings for education and innovation, and we need all meeting professionals to join together and educate the nation’s leaders on why meetings mean business.”

“That education must happen immediately,” Sexton adds. “With the potential for Senate Amendment 67 to limit federal agencies to sending no more than 25 employees to any domestic meeting, planners and suppliers should take proactive steps to ensure that their Senators recognize the real value of face-to-face meetings.”

What should you tell your Senator? It’s simple:

  • We oppose the Coburn Amendment #67 limiting attendance of federal agencies at all meetings and conferences within the United States.
  • The dialogue that occurs at conferences between the federal government and the private sector is invaluable to the policymaking process and moving business forward. Public-private collaboration works best when there is a face-to-face exchange of knowledge and ideas - when new relationships are built and current relationships are strengthened.

To find contact information for your Senator, click here.

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