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House Bill Seeks to Increase U.S. Agencies' Use of Video Conferencing

July 16, 2013 | Telepresence Options

house of representatives

Story by GovernmentVideo

A House Republican has introduced a bill that seeks to cut U.S.-agencies travel expenses by having the White House Office of Management and Budget monitor the agencies to ensure federal employees are using video conferencing for meetings rather than traveling to far locations.

Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, Pa., introduced the proposed Stay in Place, Cut the Waste Act (H.R. 2643) which requires the director of the OMB to review on how much the federal agencies have reduced travel expenses by the use of video conferencing as directed by existing presidential and OMB orders and as required by federal law. In addition, the OMB director is to report those findings to Congress.

H.R. 2643 notes the advances in video-conferencing technology that have enabled a shift away from a hardware-based model to a browser-based model, and to systems that use off-the-shelf equipment present in most every government office, business and home. That has lead "to reduced expenses and increased efficiency," the proposed legislation said.

The bill is "to provide for a review of efforts to reduce federal-agency travel expenses through the use of video conferencing and a plan to achieve additional reductions in such expenses." It cites Executive Order 13589, issued by President Barack Obama on Nov. 9, 2011, which directs the head of each executive department or agency to establish a plan for fiscal year 2013 to reduce the combined expenses associated with a variety of activities, including travel, by not less than 20 percent below fiscal year 2010 levels. "Executive Order 13589 addresses travel spending and provides, in part, for the use of video conferencing," the bill said.

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